Nuclear energy projects have received a £3.3 million funding boost from the UK Government aiming to support the development of an advanced modular reactor (AMR).
The funding, awarded via the advanced modular reactor research, development and demonstration (AMR RD&D) programme, will support early-stage innovation for six winning projects, helping attract private investment and supporting the creation of new, highly skilled green jobs.
Projects set to gain from the funding include U-Battery Developments, EDF Energy Nuclear Generation, Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation, Springfields Fuels and the National Nuclear Laboratory, which has received funding for two projects.
“This investment will help unlock the potential for new nuclear reactors in the UK, as we drive forward plans to boost clean, cutting-edge, homegrown technologies for our energy security, while driving down bills in the long term,” said Greg Hands, Energy Minister for the UK Government.
AMR’s present a unique opportunity for the UK. These smaller and more flexible nuclear generators could be built at a lower cost, and both provide the grid with low-carbon electricity. It could also be instrumental in producing vast quantities of pink hydrogen for various applications including transportation and industrial processes.
Additionally, given the high temperatures they create, AMRs could potentially power district heating networks by 2040.
U-Battery Developments in Slough will receive £499,845 for a study aiming to determine the optimum size, type, cost and delivery method for a U-Battery AMR suitable for demonstration in the UK.
EDF Energy Nuclear Generation in Gloucester and Hartlepool will receive £499,737 for a project focussing on end-user requirements to determine the reactor design characteristics most suitable for a high temperature gas reactor (HTGR) demonstration in the 2030s.
Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation UK in Merseyside will receive £498,312 for a project that will build on an existing micro modular reactor (MMR) design as a foundation to develop and demonstrate a modified MMR+ design best suited to UK industry’s current and projected future heat demands.
This includes a demonstration of hydrogen and Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) production, which both could be pivotal in a net zero world.
SAF provides a means to decarbonise the aviation sector whereas hydrogen can be utilised to decarbonise hard-to-abate sectors.
Springfields Fuels will receive £243,311 for a project, in collaboration with Urenco, aiming to support a range of potential HTGR technologies that may come forward in the UK.
National Nuclear Laboratory will receive £497,495 and £250,000 for two projects. One will coordinate a UK-Japan team (NNL, Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) and Jacobs) to leverage a proven HTGR baseline from Japan and adopt an innovative approach in its design, build, construction and operation.
The second project aims to deliver a domestic commercial fuel supply starting with the first fuel load for the HTGR demonstration.
The new funding comes as off the back of the government launching a £375 million support package for nuclear, hydrogen and carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) earlier this year.
Of this funding, £2.5 million was allocated to support the development of AMRs. As well as this, the Office for Nuclear Regulations and Environment Agency also received an additional £830,000 to help support the development of AMRs in the UK.