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Mini Nuclear Plants Could Come to Britain by 2025

January 18, 2016

By Paul Homewood 


h/t Climanrecon






An interesting report from Bloomberg:


U.K. ambitions to build small modular nuclear plants may be realized as soon as 2025, according to Fluor Corp.’s NuScale unit, which is seeking to be a pioneer in the market.

NuScale plans to submit its 50-megawatt reactor design for approval by U.S. nuclear authorities towards the end of 2016. That would leave it well-placed to seek the U.K. equivalent, called Generic Design Assessment, in 2017, Tom Mundy, executive vice president for program development at the U.S. company, said in an interview in London.

“Assuming the GDA is submitted and takes four years, we’d be looking at approval in 2021,” Mundy said. “There’s then a 36-month construction time, so it’s plausible to expect that if all things line up, we could have a U.K. plant built by 2025."

Britain is trying to secure new baseload power as it closes down all its coal-fired plants by 2025. Conventional nuclear power is proving expensive and time consuming, while most companies don’t think it’s profitable to build new gas-fired stations. The Treasury in November said it will plow 250 million pounds ($378 million) into research and development over the next five years aimed at building one of the world’s first small modular nuclear reactors in the 2020s.

NuScale’s 50-megawatt reactors can be deployed in quantities of as many as 12 at a single power plant. That would give utilities the flexibility to spread capital spending over many years as they expand a plant. By contrast, Electricite de France SA and China General Nuclear Power Corp. will spend about 18 billion pounds to build a 3.2-gigawatt nuclear plant they’re planning at Hinkley Point in southwest England by 2025, the first atomic station in the country since 1995.



The levelized cost of energy for NuScale’s first project will be about $101 (70 pounds) per megawatt-hour, according to Mundy. Later projects could come in at $90, he said. The EDF-led plant at Hinkley will get government-guaranteed power payments of 92.50 pounds per megawatt-hour for 35 years.

The global market for small modular reactors may total as much as 400 billion pounds by 2035, according to a report in late 2014 by the National Nuclear Laboratory, which advises the U.K. government. It identified reactor designs that may meet U.K. requirements coming from NuScale, Toshiba Corp.’s Westinghouse unit, China National Nuclear Corp. and the mPower venture by Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises Inc. and Bechtel Group Inc.

NuScale won’t manufacture its own reactors and has investigated the U.K. supply chain, according to Mundy. Once established in Britain, the company could then export its modules to other European nations, he said.

"There are U.K. companies that can build everything we need,” said Mundy. "We can offer British companies great opportunities to build the stuff. We want to make our program as beneficial to the U.K. as possible. It’s the only international market where we’re really expending resources."

When Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced the R&D funding for modular reactors, it also said a competition for funding will be held “early next year.” The Department of Energy and Climate Change said that no fixed timetable has yet been set. Mundy said he doesn’t doubt the government’s intentions.

“Nuclear power has a long legacy in this country, and our reactors are based on tried-and-tested light water technology,” Mundy said. “I’m optimistic that with what the chancellor said and the indications from DECC we’re going to continue to move forward."



What is absolutely clear is that we should not be subsidising any more new wind/solar farms, as we will simply be locking in guarantees for inefficient and costly technology for another 15 years.

  1. Chris Manuell permalink
    January 18, 2016 5:55 pm

    Britain has it’s own small modular design that an Independent feasibility study said was the most promising for the UK see

  2. catweazle666 permalink
    January 18, 2016 5:59 pm

    Rolls Royce have been building small scale fully controllable nuclear reactors on a commercial basis in Great Britain for use in submarines since 1965, so why are we turning to a US company?

    • johnmarshall permalink
      January 19, 2016 11:28 am

      It is a PWR which is not as safe as the salt reactor given that a PWR opperates at high pressure thus needing a containment vessel which costs. Salt reactors do not need such costly items.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        January 19, 2016 5:10 pm

        “It is a PWR which is not as safe as the salt reactor”

        And yet, after half a century of use in relatively arduous environments, AFAIK not a single instance of catastrophic failure has been recorded, whereas I am not aware of a single commercial salt reactor in use anywhere in the world, due to none have as yet been developed.

        Added to which, we can go and buy them off the shelf, fully developed and ready for installation.

        This – although from 2012 – is interesting.

  3. January 18, 2016 6:37 pm

    And what about Thorium-based reactors – could use radioactive fuel waste too…

  4. January 18, 2016 6:56 pm

    This smacks of UK subsidy mining. The ‘small modular reactors’ others are exploring are in the range of 150-250 MW, not 50. Scale economies. Even the US Navy’s are 110.

    And Bloomberg graphic is a crock, since it claims wind is cheaper than CCGT. The EIA LCOE for wind is a deceptive mess. We analyzed in a guest post, True cost of wind, at Climate Etc. Wrong assumptions about future cost declines, plant lives, capacity factors, and intermittancy backup costs. The ‘correct’ comparisons are CCGT $57/MWh, wind $146/MWh. That is why wind is not viable without subsidies.

  5. John F. Hultquist permalink
    January 18, 2016 7:22 pm

    With a great deal of luck on 2 fronts I might get to see some of this develop.
    Front 1 being my length of time left on this planet – I plan on moving on about 2030.
    Front 2 is the time frame of the installation of land-based modular reactors. There will be many impediments slowing any implementation. Note the issues with the “fracking” proposals. The anti-nuclear folks likely are more numerous and intense than anti-fracking ones.
    Why not try docking a submarine near an uninhabited bit of coast and see how that goes? Such could be done in 2 year’s time. This would give everyone a chance to work the kinks out. Why wait until 2025, then fuss around for 10 years to find out the government doesn’t have the wherewithal to carry through?

    • January 18, 2016 8:30 pm

      JH, careful,whay you wish for. The newest Virginia class US nuclear subs use 1 brand new S9G reactor, useful life 33 years with no refueling thanks to 93% (weapons grade) uranium enrichment. 2016 sub cost is ‘only’ $2.68 billion each. The S9G puts out up to 130 MWt, but the sub only puts out 30MWe (40,000 shp). Would make Hinckley Point look like a bargain. Semijoking, as you undoubtedly were.

      • Graham permalink
        January 18, 2016 10:01 pm

        You don’t need the whole sub!
        What does the Rolls reactor cost??

    • catweazle666 permalink
      January 19, 2016 5:14 pm

      AFAIK the Russians have been repurposing old nuclear submarines for domestic electricity generation in coastal towns since the end of the Cold War.

  6. DMA permalink
    January 19, 2016 12:09 am

    With Brilliant Light Power’s announcement later this month and Rossi’s 1 year trial of his 1MW E-Cat plant finishing up next month (8.7GWH from less than 100 grams of fuel and no radiation), and Brillouin’s announcement of anticipated commercial installation this year after the independent verification of their process, cold fusion is set to make these nuclear reactors obsolete before they can get permission to be installed. It is a good time to watch the new energy sources that have the potential to change the global energy scene as much as the Wright brothers changed transportation.

    • January 19, 2016 1:01 am

      DMA, Rossi ECat is a provable scam from a convicted scammer. OTH, LENR ( which is NOT what Rossi claims), has a viable theoretical physics underpinning (weak force mediated, Widom-Larsen theory) and substantial experimental validation. That said, it is very unclear whether LENR can be commercially harnessed despite the Brillouin claims. Wrote extensively about both in different chapters of my ebook The Arts of Truth.
      Dunno about Brilliant Light. Stopped trying to keep up with miracle energy source claims around 2012, after finishing AoT.
      Please understand, the Virginia sub post was mostly sarcasm. All innfaor of 4th gen nuclear, although think it will take a decade to sort out the best approach. Meanwhile, build USC coal with scrubbers if you do not have nat gas, and CCGT if you do. Simple, cost effective, rational energy policy. Regards.

      • DMA permalink
        January 19, 2016 1:56 am

        Ristvan, I haven’t read your book yet but have looked at some of the “proofs” of the Rossi Fraud but remain hopeful. I can’t get past the Legano report and the infusion of working capital and assistance by Industrial Heat. I watched the recent interview with Mats Lewan and he points out more reasons to be hopeful. That said, I agree that coal is the correct energy choice for now.

      • January 19, 2016 2:10 pm

        This is not the opinion of Woodford fund who invest about 50M$
        after 2.5year of due dilligence

        their investment does not mean it will work industrially, but saying it is a proven scam is maybe not perfectly honest position.

        My best advice is to widen your sources and avoid relaying extremists positions. It is a complex situation, but there is some position that today seems ridiculous. Pure scam theory is such.

  7. Brian H permalink
    January 19, 2016 3:33 am

    If you want a real solution at <10% of the cost, all-in, check out . Shoestring private project, best results in the world.

  8. Brian H permalink
    January 19, 2016 5:31 am

    Read this article for a good overview: .

  9. January 19, 2016 9:39 am

    While today is one of those cold days when the wind doesn’t blow, currently providing around 0.25% of national grid demand:

  10. January 19, 2016 9:54 am

    It would require 64 of these mini-nukes to match the output of the proposed large reactor. Will the price per unit be one sixty fourth? Never mind misleading “levelized costs”, how much each?
    Smaller modules do add some versatility so could cope better with the fluctuations in wind turbine output, but that is of little importance as existing turbines will have broken down by then.

  11. HorshamBren permalink
    January 19, 2016 10:05 am

    Well, we’re going to need something

    At present, the UK National Grid demand is 48.16 GW, of which wind is supplying 0.15 GW (0.31%)

  12. Peter Langdon permalink
    January 19, 2016 1:41 pm

    Released by the DECC today:

    ‘The Department for Energy and Climate Change has today given the go ahead for a new electric line connection, which will form a major part of the infrastructure needed for the transmission of electricity from Hinkley Point C nuclear power station’.

    Well if that’s the case its time a start was made to build the nuclear power station so that the electric line can be connectd to it. At present it seems all we have is a a muddy field.

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