Cavendish Nuclear, X-energy to collaborate on HTGR deployment in U.K.

May 13, 2022, 9:34AMNuclear News

A cross-section view of X-energy’s Xe-100 reactor. (Image: X-energy)

U.K. nuclear services company Cavendish Nuclear has signed a memorandum of understanding with U.S. reactor and fuel-design engineering firm X-energy to act as its deployment partner for high-temperature, gas-cooled reactors (HTGRs) in the United Kingdom.

Headquartered in Rockville, Md., X-energy is the developer of the Xe-100, an 80-MWe reactor with a modular design permitting it to be scaled into a “four-pack” 320-MWe power plant. As a pebble bed HTGR, the Xe-100 would use TRISO particles encased in graphite pebbles as the fuel and helium as the coolant.

According to a May 11 joint statement from the companies, development and deployment of HTGRs in the United Kingdom would support an increase in the nation’s energy security, contribute toward the government’s net-zero-by-2050 commitment, and create considerable opportunities for the U.K. nuclear supply chain.

U.K. begins assessment of Rolls-Royce SMR design

March 9, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News
Artist’s conception of a site for the Rolls-Royce small modular reactor. (Image: Rolls-Royce)

The United Kingdom’s Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has asked regulators—including the U.K. Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), the Environment Agency, and Natural Resources Wales—to begin a generic design assessment (GDA) of Rolls-Royce SMR’s 470-MWe small modular reactor design.

HTGR locked in for U.K. demonstration project

December 7, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News

Hands

The U.K. government has confirmed its selection of the high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR) for Britain’s £170 million (about $236 million) Advanced Modular Reactor Demonstration Program.

Greg Hands, minister for energy, clean growth, and climate change, delivered the news on December 2 via a speech at the Nuclear Industry Association’s annual conference. “Following evaluation of responses received,” Hands said, “I’m pleased to announce today that we will focus on HTGRs as the technology choice for the program moving forward—with the ambition for this to lead to a demonstration by the early 2030s.”

NNL approved: “As we look to the future and the part we play as a scientific superpower, the U.K.’s unparalleled experience in gas-cooled technologies makes HTGRs the common-sense choice for pursuing advanced nuclear,” said Paul Howarth, chief executive officer at the United Kingdom’s National Nuclear Laboratory. “Following announcements already made on financing for the next stage of the Rolls-Royce SMR program and the proposed Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill to make large-scale plants more achievable, the U.K. is primed once more to be a global leader in nuclear technologies—large, small, and advanced.”

U.K. nuclear joins renewables to press for grid decarbonization

June 1, 2021, 6:59AMNuclear News

Three United Kingdom organizations—the Nuclear Industry Association, RenewableUK (formerly the British Wind Energy Association), and Solar Energy UK—are calling for urgent action to build new nuclear, wind, and solar capacity and for a binding target of 100 percent grid decarbonization by 2035.

The United Kingdom was the first of the world’s major economies to embrace a legal obligation to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Global industry to policymakers: Net zero needs nuclear

May 17, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News

Achieving global carbon neutrality by 2050—a pledge made by well over 100 countries so far, including Canada, the European Union, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States—will require investment in new nuclear capacity and the retention of existing nuclear generation, states an open letter released last Friday by the leaders of six prominent nuclear industry organizations.

Gorman

Desbazeille

Arai

Korsnick

Greatrex

Bilbao y Leon

The letter was signed by John Gorman, president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Nuclear Association; Yves Desbazeille, director general of FORATOM; Shiro Arai, president of the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum; Maria Korsnick, president and CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute; John Greatrex, chief executive of the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Industry Association; and Sama Bilbao y León, director general of the World Nuclear Association.

U.K. endorses nuclear for green hydrogen future

February 24, 2021, 9:29AMNuclear News

Nuclear power could produce as much as one-third of the United Kingdom’s clean hydrogen needs by 2050, posits the Hydrogen Roadmap, a 12-page report recently approved by the Nuclear Industry Council (NIC) and released last week by the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA).

The NIC, co-chaired by the British government’s minister for business, energy, and clean growth, and the chairman of the NIA, sets strategic priorities for government-industry collaboration to promote nuclear power in the United Kingdom.

The road to net zero: The report outlines how large-scale and small modular reactors could produce both the power and the heat necessary to produce emissions-free, or “green,” hydrogen. Existing large-scale reactors, it says, could produce green hydrogen today at scale through electrolysis, as could the next generation of gigawatt-scale reactors. Also, according to the report, SMRs, the first unit of which could be deployed within the next 10 years, could unlock possibilities for green hydrogen production near industrial clusters.

U.S. companies said to be in talks with U.K. on Welsh nuclear project

November 11, 2020, 3:00PMNuclear News

Artist's concept of the Wylfa Newydd project. Image: Horizon Nuclear Power

The London-based newspaper Financial Times is reporting that a consortium of U.S. firms is holding discussions with the U.K. government to revive Wylfa Newydd, the nuclear new-build project in Wales from which Tokyo-based Hitachi Ltd. withdrew in September. According to the November 10 FT story—which is based on an anonymous source—the consortium is led by Bechtel and includes Southern Company and Westinghouse.

U.K. trade group debuts blueprint for lowering nuclear construction costs

September 3, 2020, 9:29AMNuclear News

The Nuclear Industry Association (NIA), the trade group for the United Kingdom’s civil nuclear industry, unveiled a new report yesterday that sets out a framework for cutting the cost of building new nuclear power plants in Britain.

The 27-page report, Nuclear Sector Deal: Nuclear New Build Cost Reduction, is available online.