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UK Advances Cutting-Edge Nuclear Power Technology

Great British Nuclear is moving quickly with major advancements in nuclear technology underway in the UK.

The British government said it has selected six companies’ designs for the next generation of nuclear reactors in the country today.

EDF, GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy International LLC, Holtec Britain Limited, NuScale Power, Rolls Royce SMR and Westinghouse Electric Company UK Limited have been chosen for the next stage of the process. 

The Small Modular Reactor (SMR) competition is part of the government’s plan to revive nuclear power and for the UK to lead the global race to develop cutting-edge technologies to rapidly deliver cleaner, cheaper energy and greater energy security. The government’s ambition is for up to a quarter of all UK electricity to come from nuclear power by 2050. 

Unlike conventional nuclear reactors that are built on site, SMRs are smaller, can be made in factories, and could transform how power stations are built by making construction faster and less expensive. 

The designs chosen today are considered by the government and Great British Nuclear – the government-backed body driving forward nuclear projects across the country – the most able to deliver operational SMRs by the mid-2030s. The next stage of the process will be launched as soon as possible where successful companies will shortly be able to bid for government contracts. The ambition is to announce in Spring 2024 which of the 6 companies the government will support, with contracts awarded by Summer 2024.  This timetable aims to make this competition the fastest of its kind in the world.

As well as backing SMRs and other emerging nuclear technologies, the government is also investing in the large-scale project at Sizewell C, a near exact replica of Hinkley Point C, the first nuclear plant to be in construction for over a generation. 

Energy Security Secretary Claire Coutinho said: 

Small Modular Reactors will help the UK rapidly expand nuclear power and deliver cheaper, cleaner, and more secure energy for British families and businesses, create well-paid, high-skilled jobs, and grow the economy. 

The competition has attracted designs from around the world and puts the UK at the front of the global race to develop this exciting, cutting-edge technology and cement our position as a world leader in nuclear innovation.

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