New nuclear power plants can play a role in the UK’s low carbon transition but will need to evolve.
That’s according to the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), which suggests a combination of both large nuclear and small modular reactors (SMRs) could provide a reliable and affordable solution.
However, while large reactors are well suited for baseload electricity production, the ETI says they would need to be financed without relying on overseas and government equity funding schemes, as in the case of Hinkley Point C.
Mike Middleton, Strategy Manager at the ETI, said: “Future nuclear technologies will only be deployed if there is a market need and such technologies provide the most cost effective solution.
“The nuclear industry has a challenge to demonstrate how it can reduce costs as more UK new nuclear projects come forward and also demonstrate competitiveness alongside other low carbon options within the energy mix such as renewables.”
The ETI suggests SMRs could be used to provide combined heat and power, helping to decarbonise energy use in buildings.
However it believes further work is needed to improve the economics of their construction and operation before this is possible.
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