NuScale, which is the Portland, OR, based developer of a 50 MW small modular reactor (SMR) , announced new progress in developing the market for its technology in the UK. Tom Mundy, NuScale’s chief commercial officer and managing director for the UK and Europe, said in a statement:
“Our UK SMR Action Plan sets out a clear vision for NuScale’s technology to be rolling off production lines in UK factories, generating power for UK homes in the 2020s and transforming the UK into a hub for export into a lucrative global market.”
In the US NuScale Power, LLC announced that the company has successfully submitted Part II of its Title XVII loan guarantee application to the U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE) under the Department’s Advanced Nuclear Energy Project Solicitation.
The small modular reactor design is undergoing a four-year review with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission expected to wrap up in 2021.
Additional design and technical work conducted during the review process is being funded, in part, by a $217 million DOE cost-sharing appropriation.
UK Market May Finally Open Up for SMRs
(WNN) NuScale Power of the USA has launched an action plan for the near-term deployment of small modular reactors (SMRs) in the UK. An SMR could be deployed in the UK within the next ten years, NuScale said. The firm, which is backed by US engineering giant Fluor Corporation, this week sought to highlight the UK’s potential role as an SMR hub with the publication of an action plan detailing how it could deliver the technology by the 2020s.
NuScale Power announced in March 2016 that it would submit its SMR to the UK government’s competition to identify the best value SMR design for the UK. Last year the UK government launched a competition to accelerate the development of SMRs, amid predictions the technology could help cut greenhouse gas emissions and curb the cost of nuclear power.
However, the promised £250m, five year R&D program has been repeatedly delayed and in response a meeting was recently called between government officials and potential SMR developers over the status of the competition.
NuScale’s Tom Mundy comment reported by wire services was that, “The window of opportunity is closing, and for the benefits of our UK vision of near-term SMR deployments to be fully realized, decisions must be taken by government now.”
NuScale’s plan posits that a fleet of SMRs deployed during the 2020s could provide a low carbon replacement for retiring coal plants, meet demand for power from a growing electric car fleet, and create jobs across a civilian nuclear workforce.
Mundy said the UK government should “seize this once-in-a-generation SMR opportunity by providing long-term political support, the right market conditions, clarity on the regulatory review process, identification of sites, and continued support for UK nuclear capabilities”.
On September 9th the Telegraph reported in its business pages the government ministers are getting ready to approve the development of a fleet of “mini” reactors to prevent electricity shortages as older nuclear power stations are decommissioned.
The newspaper noted that advocates for the new technology expect it to offer energy a third cheaper than giant conventional reactors such as the Hinkley Point project which is composed of two Areva 1650 MW EPRs.
The firms involved in the SMR meeting include Rolls-Royce, NuScale, Hitachi and Westinghouse. They have held meetings in past weeks with civil servants about Britain’s nuclear strategy and development of “small modular reactors” (SMRs).
A report to be published by Rolls-Royce in Westminster this week claims its consortium can generate electricity at a “strike price” – the guaranteed price producers can charge – of £60 per megawatt hour, two thirds that of recent large-scale nuclear plants.
The report to be published by Rolls-Royce, entitled “UK SMR: A National Endeavour”, which has been seen by The Telegraph, claims SMRs will be able to generate electricity significantly cheaper than conventional nuclear plants.
Details of NuScale’s UK Plan
A UK-US partnership offers the best option for near-term delivery of SMRs, NuScale said in a statement, and added that its action plan builds on collaboration it has been developing with UK organizations for the past few years. It already works in strategic partnership with Ultra Electronics, collaborates with Sheffield Forgemasters via a program supported by Innovate UK, and partners with the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre.
Mundy says that the UK has an opportunity to become a global leader in the development and deployment of innovative nuclear technology. The firm has expressed confidence that the UK nuclear supply chain could provide 85% or more of content required for UK SMR deployments. The UK would also be well positioned to capture a significant share of the global SMR export market, estimated to be worth up to £400 billion ($522 billion) by 2035.
In the UK critics of nuclear power have warned that there is a lack of clarity over the future regulatory oversight of the UK’s nuclear industry post-Brexit will further undermine the government’s SMR plans. Last July this blog reported that Brexitg was creating problems for the entire UK nuclear build. This blog reported in August that the government has not focused on the problem and that Brexit represents a real threat to the development of SMRs in the UK
NuScale Takes Next Steps in US with DOE Loan Guarantee
NuScale Power, LLC announced last week that the company has successfully submitted Part II of its Title XVII loan guarantee application to the U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE) under the Department’s Advanced Nuclear Energy Project Solicitation.
Under this solicitation, USDOE seeks applications for loan guarantees to finance projects located in the US that employ innovative advanced nuclear energy technologies that avoid, reduce or sequester anthropogenic emission of greenhouse gases. The DOE Loan Guarantee Program was established under Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and has $12.5 billion in loan guarantee authority for Advanced Nuclear Energy Projects.
“The application is another step in our successful partnership with the Department of Energy,” said John Hopkins, Chairman and CEO of NuScale Power.
“With their ongoing support, we are well along the path to bringing this innovative design to market, creating jobs and preserving American leadership in nuclear technology.”
“For the Carbon Free Power Project to be successful, we need to be competitive,” said Doug Hunter, CEO of UAMPS.
“This loan guarantee, along with other government support, allows us to be fully competitive with natural gas without adding any greenhouse gas emissions.”
Hunter previously told the Idaho Falls Post Register the loan guarantee would be worth about $480 million, though the figure is calculated using a method dependent on the ever-changing price of electricity created with other fuel sources.
According to the Idaho Falls Post Register, House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, said he has proposed keeping the loan guarantee office open, then appropriating money on an individual basis when an application advances far enough for a company to need the guarantee to proceed with its project.
Other programs affecting advanced nuclear energy development are currently under review, including possible extension of Production Tax Credits and support for supply chain development and construction.
US-Based Lightbridge Signs Agreement With Areva
On New Nuclear Fuel Venture
(NucNet) US nuclear fuel development company Lightbridge Corporation and Areva Inc., US subsidiary of the French Areva Group, have signed a binding agreement on a joint venture to develop, manufacture and commercialize fuel assemblies based on Lightbridge’s advanced metallic nuclear fuel technology,
Lightbridge said in a statement the technology “significantly” improves the economics and safety of nuclear power, “operating about 1000°C cooler than conventional fuel.”
In November 2016, Lightbridge and Areva reached an agreement on the key terms for the creation of the new joint venture, including equal-share ownership. The venture will cover fuel assemblies for most types of light-water reactors, including pressurized water reactors (PWRs), boiling water reactors (BWRs), small modular reactors (SMRs) and research reactors.
X-Energy Signs Cooperation Agreement
on Advanced Fuel Development
(NucNet): US companies X-energy and Centrus Energy have agreed to cooperate on the development of a facility to fabricate uranium oxycarbide tristructural isotropic (UCO-Triso) fuel for “X-energy reactors and advanced nuclear reactor companies around the world.”
A joint statement said the companies will prepare a deployment plan for X-energy’s Triso fuel technology, design a cost-effective, highly automated fuel manufacturing process line, and seek funding for a future commercial fuel production facility.
The statement quoted Kam Ghaffarian, X-energy chief executive officer, as saying that the US Department of Energy has spent nearly $400m (€300m) in “developing and qualifying” UCO-Triso in preparation for advanced reactor commercialization.
X-energy is an advanced nuclear reactor design and Triso-based fuel fabrication company, developing the 76-MW Xe-100 high temperature gas-cooled pebble bed modular reactor.
X-Energy also has a cooperation agreement with Southern Nuclear in development of TRISO fuel for use in a molten chloride salt reactor. In August 2016 this blog reported the significance of the TRISO fuel for the project.
Centrus Energy, formerly known as Usec, is a supplier of enriched uranium fuel for commercial nuclear power plants in the US and overseas.
Finland Plans Phaseout Of Coal With Nuclear To Help Fill Gap
(NucNet) Finland will introduce legislation in 2018 to phase out coal and increase carbon taxes with additional nuclear capacity from two new reactors.
Riku Huttunen, director-general of Finland’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, told Reuters that the current strategy is to get rid of coal by 2030 and that the process will be started by legislation due next year.
According to the International Energy Agency, Finland is highly dependent on imported fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas – with coal producing about 10% of the country’s consumption.
To cope with the gap left by coal, Finland will have to increase the amount of energy produced from other fuel sources, Mr Huttunen was quoted as saying.
Nuclear power could take up the slack as two new reactors – the Olkiluoto-3 EPR and the Russia-supplied Hanhikivi-1– are scheduled to come online in 2018 and 2024.
Finland wants to increase its energy security by relying less on imports. Around 70% of coal is imported from Russia. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Finland’s four existing nuclear units at Olkiluoto and Loviisa accounted for almost 34% of electricity production in 2016.
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Construction Cost of a Single 220 MW Small Modular Reactor is just 28% of the Cost of Equivalent Offshore Wind:
If CfD for offshore wind is £140/MWh, an SMR should be able to make money at £39.20/MWh, so the £60/MWh Rolls-Royce have muted looks a great deal.