- Qatar Invests £85 Million in Rolls-Royce SMR Project
- Rolls-Royce SMR Signs £3.7m Contract with Sheffield Forgemasters
- Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation, Framatome Awarded GAIN Vouchers
- India to Increase Nuclear Power Capacity Over Next Decade
Qatar Invests £85 Million in Rolls-Royce SMR Project
(NucNet) Rolls-Royce (RR.L) announced this week Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund will invest 85 million pounds ($112.12 million) in the British company’s new low-carbon nuclear power business in exchange for a 10% equity stake.
The firm has agreed with the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) for the funding in its Small Modular Reactors business, which Rolls-Royce said was now fully funded having secured a total of 490 million pounds through commercial equities and grants.
“This investment is a clear vote of confidence in the UK’s global leadership in nuclear innovation,” British Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said in a statement.
QIA will join Rolls-Royce Group, BNF Resources UK Ltd and Exelon Generation Ltd as shareholders in Rolls-Royce SMR, taking a 10% share of the equity.
Rolls-Royce said in November it was pushing ahead with plans to develop and deploy a new generation of SMRs after raising £450m in funding from investors and the government.
The development of SMRs is a core part of the UK government’s 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution. The 10-point plan included investing £525m to help develop large and small-scale nuclear plants, as well as research and development of new advanced modular reactors.
Rolls-Royce has promised to “harness decades of British engineering, design and manufacturing knowhow” to roll out the first of its SMRs, which are based on a similar technology used to propel nuclear submarines. A key difference will be fuels. The reactors on submarines use a high levels of uranium enrichment for their fuel. Commercial reactors using light water technology have enrichment levels at less than 5% U235.
The firm has applied to the UK’s Office for Nuclear Regulation to begin the Generic Design Assessment process in November. Rolls-Royce SMR CEO Tom Samson told the Nuclear 2021 conference he wants to begin discussions with the regulator in January 2022.
Each of the initial production run of reactors is expected to have a generation capacity of 470 MWe, or enough to power the equivalent of 1.3m UK homes, and cost about £2.2bn per unit dropping to £1.8bn by the time five have been completed. This means it will be comparable with offshore wind at around £50/MWh. A single SMR power station will occupy the footprint of two soccer fields.
Rolls-Royce said 90% of an individual Rolls-Royce SMR power plant will be built or assembled in factory conditions and around 80% could be delivered by a UK supply chain.
Rolls-Royce said its SMR can support both on-grid electricity and off-grid clean energy solutions, enabling the decarbonization of industrial processes and the production of green hydrogen.
QIA’s chief executive officer, Mansoor bin Ebrahim Al-Mahmoud, said QIA is investing in the energy transition and funding the technologies that enable low-carbon electricity generation.
Warren East, chief executive officer of the Rolls-Royce Group, said he was “tremendously pleased” with the QIA partnership. “We have successfully raised the capital we need to establish Rolls-Royce SMR and it is encouraging to confirm that the business is now set up to succeed,” he said.
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Rolls-Royce SMR Signs £3.7m Contract with Sheffield Forgemasters
Rolls-Royce SMR has signed a contract with Sheffield Forgemasters to enable the first development forgings to be manufactured to support the deployment of Rolls-Royce SMRs.
The £3.7m contract will be delivered by the UK business, Sheffield Forgemasters, kick-starting the UK nuclear renaissance and the development of commercial Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) in the UK.
The forgings form part of Rolls-Royce SMR’s work to achieve regulatory approval and will allow both parties to understand and develop manufacturing procedures and techniques, to de-risk and accelerate the important first production of these key components.
Sheffield Forgemasters is the only UK company able to produce these significant forgings. As a result, Rolls-Royce SMR will benefit from Sheffield Forgemasters’ decades of experience and delivery abilities.
This is the first major supply chain material contract enabled by the coming together of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) grant funding, delivered through the Low Cost Nuclear challenge and private capital, to form the Rolls-Royce SMR business.
This investment further strengthens the delivery of the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution and will contribute to the ability of the UK to deliver on its decarbonization objectives and long-term export opportunities through Rolls-Royce SMR.
David Bond, CEO of Sheffield Forgemasters, said: “These forgings will be integral to the overall evaluation of routes to manufacture for the Rolls-Royce SMR program. The forgings will require highly detailed simulation work and analysis from our RD&T team to deliver components which will meet exacting nuclear-grade standards. We are very excited to be working with Rolls-Royce SMR on the first deliverables for this project.”
A Rolls-Royce SMR power station will have the capacity to generate 470MWe of low carbon energy, equivalent to more than 150 onshore wind turbines. It will provide consistent baseload generation for at least 60 years, helping to support the roll out of renewable generation and overcome intermittency issues.
Potential global demand for SMRs is valued between £250 and £400 billion. The UK now has the opportunity to become a world-leader in its own SMR reactor and to export its skills and knowledge around the globe.
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Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation, Framatome Awarded GAIN Vouchers
The Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) awarded vouchers today to Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (Seattle, WA) and Framatome Inc. (Lynchburg, VA) to accelerate the development of their advanced nuclear technologies. Both voucher recipients will gain access to the nuclear research capabilities and expertise available at the U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory complex at no cost to the businesses.
Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation is partnering with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to help scale up and qualify the production of fuel made at its future manufacturing facility for its micro-modular reactor.
Framatome will work with Argonne National Laboratory to develop and validate a model for multi-phase liquid flow that will help accelerate the delivery of advanced fuel designs for both light-water reactor and potential advanced reactor fuel markets.
GAIN Nuclear Energy voucher recipients do not receive direct financial awards, but are provided access to the national labs at no cost. All awardees are responsible for a minimum 20 percent cost share, which could be an in-kind contribution.
GAIN was established by DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy and provides the nuclear community with the technical, regulatory, and financial support necessary to move innovative nuclear technologies toward commercialization while ensuring the continued, safe, and economic operation of the existing nuclear fleet.
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India to Increase Nuclear Power Capacity Over Next Decade
Jitendra Singh, India’s Minister of State in the Department of Space and Department of Atomic Energy, said India’s present nuclear power capacity of 6780MWe is planned to be increased to 22,480MWe by 2031. His statement came as part of a response to questions in the Rajya Sabha (upper house of parliament). Here is a summary of his remarks.
* The present nuclear power capacity of 6,780MWe is planned to be increased to 22,480MWe by 2031.
* The government has approved plans and financing for ten 700 MWe indigenous pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs) (700 MWe each)..
Nuclear Reactors Under Construction in India – Table: World Nuclear Assoc
Planned Nuclear Reactors for India – Table: World Nuclear Assoc
Plant Construction Updates
The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant’s (KKNPP’s) Units 3 & 4 (two VVER-1000 reactors) being implemented by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) has is 55% complete. The units are expected to be commissioned in March 2023 and November 2023, respectively.
Construction is underway for Units 5 & 6. Units 5 & 6 and represent the third phase of development at Kudankulam. Units 1 & 2h began operation in 2014 and 2017 respectively.
* The 500MWe Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) being built by Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Limited (Bhavini) at Kalpakkam is at the commissioning stage. Completion is scheduled for October 2022.
* The fast reactor fuel cycle facility (FRFCF) project is 32% complete and it is expected to be completed by December 2027.
The government has accorded ‘in-principle’ approval for the site at Jaitapur in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri district for construction of six 1650MWe reactors in technical cooperation with France with a total capacity of 9,900MWe. Currently discussions continue as to costs and technical considerations with EDF.
Essentially, this means relatively little has changed since the project was first announced in 2007. NPCIL has taken the position that it prefers to allocate the money needed to build the six EPRs and use it to build another fleet of the Indian designed PHWRs.
At $5,000/Kw the project would cost $50 billion. The 700 MWe PHWRs are expected to come in at less than $3,000/Kw due to localization of the supply chains for them and use of Indian skilled trades. At $2.1 billion each, NPCIL could build at least 20 PHWRs at numerous locations around the nation making India’s electrical grid more resilient in the bargain.
Plans for six Westinghouse AP1000s to be built in Andhra Pradesh remain in limbo. Instead, the site is expected to host a future new build of six Russian reactors which were “relocated” to that site from Gujarat after protests against nuclear energy broke out on Indian PM Modi’s home turf last year.
The problem for Westinghouse is the so-called “supplier liability law.” While positioned as being related to the potential for providing compensation in the case of an accident, it has been very effective as a trade barrier to western reactor vendors to the delight of India’s massive coal interests.
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