Small modular reactors (SMRs) could be essential in decarbonising the UK’s energy system.
That’s according to a new report by Policy Exchange, which suggests mini-nuclear units are the best way of providing the low carbon power needed to replace existing capacity and meet rising demand as new technologies like electric vehicles (EVs) come onto the grid in larger volumes.
The report suggests solar and wind are too intermittent to be relied upon, says battery storage is too expensive and adds importing power will be increasingly difficult as Europe decarbonises.
It claims using SMRs would reduce the cost of decarbonisation and reduce consumer bills in the long term.
The group urges the government to proceed with the development of at least one third generation small modular reactor design and launch a consultation with heavy industry into the range of benefits advanced fourth generation reactor designs could bring.
Matt Rooney, Policy Exchange’s Energy and Environment Research Fellow, said: “In the next decades, we are going to need previously unthinkable levels of new low carbon electricity capacity for charging electric vehicles and to replace coal and gas.
“There is no other low carbon energy which can match nuclear power for scale and reliability, as well as the potential to use it for other services like district heat and hydrogen production.”