US-based nuclear power plant developer Last Energy has signed an agreement to supply 24 of its modular micro nuclear power plants to the UK.
Formalised via the signing of a power purchase agreement for 34 units of its 20MWe power plants, the nuclear reactors will be supplied to four industrial partners situated in the UK and Poland.
Of the 34, 24 nuclear power plants will be constructed across the UK with the power purchase agreement representing over £15.4 billion ($18.9 billion) in electricity sales. The first UK plant is targeting a commission date of 2026.
Last Energy unveiled three new partnerships in the UK representing a diversity of industries, including a life sciences campus, sustainable fuel manufacturer and a developer of hyperscale data centres.
The company confirmed the specific partnerships and details of each project will be announced over the coming months, as project teams on both sides finalise arrangements for site selection and engagement with appropriate stakeholders.
“The demand for zero carbon, baseload energy solutions is huge, and micro nuclear is an ideal solution for distributed energy users”, said Last Energy UK CEO, Mike Reynolds.
“Our private-sector led approach to delivering new nuclear power supports the wider Government efforts to promote growth and investment in the green industries of the future.”
Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the UK’s Nuclear Industry Association, said: “If we are serious about decarbonising all parts of society, including hard to abate sectors, then nuclear will need to play a central role. By providing reliable, weather-proof power, including high heat, smaller reactors can form an important part of the efforts to decarbonise challenging sectors and help meet Britain’s ambitious climate targets.”
This nuclear-based deal comes as the UK government outlined support for small nuclear reactors (SMRs) in the Spring Budget 2023. This led to the creation of Great British Nuclear (GBN) to help support the growing industry.
GBN will launch a staged competition for SMRs, designed to attract the best designs from both domestic and international vendors. The government will then look to select the leading technologies to bring forwards into demonstration stages by the end of the year.
Beyond the initial focus on SMRs, GBN will also look to further large gigawatt-scale projects. The UK’s fleet of nuclear power stations has dwindled in recent years, with just one new site under construction, EDF’s Hinkley Point C.