Tories told small reactors are the way to decarbonise

Small nuclear reactors (SMRs) will play an essential role in the UK’s journey towards decarbonisation. That’s according to David Orr, Senior Vice President at Nuclear Rolls Royce, who said the […]

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By Sumit Bose

Small nuclear reactors (SMRs) will play an essential role in the UK’s journey towards decarbonisation.

That’s according to David Orr, Senior Vice President at Nuclear Rolls Royce, who said the technology is ideally suited to cost-effectively filling the gap in the grid that will be left when fossil fuel generation is taken off.

He suggested traditional nuclear plants like Hinkley are difficult to fund due to a large amount of bespoke, specially designed components, which push up the price.

Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference today, he said modularity is the important aspect of SMRs as it allows construction time to be significantly reduced and the construction and design of various plants can be done much more simply.

Three manufacturing facilities would be expected to provide all of the parts needed to start a fleet of SMRs in the UK and the industry is estimated to provide 15,000 jobs.

Mr Orr added there are few barriers, with public acceptance of the technology at relatively high levels, a number of licensed sites already established in the UK and a much more affordable price point of £2 billion for a plant.

He said the technology needs to be providing power by 2030, which is when he expects there to be significant gaps in grid capacity that will otherwise call severe issues across the country.

ELN is reporting from the Tory conference today watch out for our tweets and Periscope broadcasts.