NuScale sets its sights on the UK

05 October 2015

NuScale aims to deploy its small modular reactor (SMR) technology in the UK with the first of its 50 MWe units in operation by the mid-2020s. The company is looking for partners to make this happen.

NuScale module (NuScale) 122x460
NuScale's power module, a passively cooled pressurized water reactor (Image: NuScale)

US-based NuScale is developing its technology with a cost-sharing award from the US Department of Energy (DOE) worth $217 million over five years. Next year the company wants to apply for design certification and it hopes to have its first unit in operation in late 2023, generating power in Idaho for prospective customer the Utah Association of Municipal Power Systems.

Today NuScale chairman and CEO John Hopkins said, "We want to replicate this timetable in the UK. NuScale is going to pursue a UK venture, I can be clear about that. We're scoping out possible sites, and our smaller footprint means we can look beyond the usual suspects."

Other nuclear new-build projects in Britain are based on building reactor units in excess of 1000 MWe capacity at established nuclear sites to replace units which are soon to retire. NuScale units by contrast product only 50 MWe each, which are factory-made and can be combined in groups of up to 12. "Our technology is smaller, scalable, easier to finance, quicker to build and easier to mix with renewables," said Hopkins.

"SMRs will happen in the UK and much sooner than people think," said Hopkins. Before any UK deployment NuScale would have to go through the Office for Nuclear Regulation's process for Generic Design Assessment, which requires an identified site and support from a credible reactor purchaser, and takes three to four years. Any construction project would also require planning permission determined at the national strategic level and, of course, local support.


Launching a prospectus and hoping to attract more commercial interest in its offering, NuScale listed its current UK partners. NuScale is majority-owned by Fluor, which has a significant base at Farnborough; it has worked on fuel design development with the UK's National Nuclear Laboratory; it collaborated with Rolls-Royce on skills issues during its bid for US DOE funding; it sponsors an internship program with the University of Sheffield and Oregon State University; it is discussing technology development with the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre; and this year NuScale opened an office in London.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News