National Nuclear Laboratory


Wednesday 3 December 2014

NNL Publishes Report on Small Modular Reactor Technology

The UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) is today pleased to publish a feasibility study into the potential use of Small Modular Reactor (SMR) technology in the UK.

The report was produced on a cost share basis with Government by a consortium of organisations under the project management of NNL, and led by independent project director Gordon Waddington. In addition to NNL, the consortium comprised Amec, Atkins, KPMG, Lloyd’s Register, the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, Rolls-Royce and The University of Manchester.

The work considered four designs in detail to inform the technical, financial, market, innovation and commercial assessments that make up the study, namely: ACP100+ (designed by CNNC); mPower (B&W and Bechtel); Westinghouse SMR (Westinghouse); and NuScale (Fluor). The report concludes that:

  • There is an opportunity for the UK to regain technology leadership in the ownership and development of low-carbon generation and secure energy supplies through investment in SMRs
  • There is a very significant market for SMRs where they fulfil a market need that cannot be met by large nuclear plants, with the size of the potential SMR market calculated to be approximately 65-85 GW of new capacity by 2035, valued at £250-£400 billion, if the economics are competitive
  • The UK market for SMRs could be around 7 GW of power on the same timescale
  • “First-of-a-kind” SMRs could be cost comparable with conventional nuclear build, with the potential to become more cost competitive as more are built
  • Further evidence is required to make a policy decision or for business to make an investment

NNL Managing Director Prof Paul Howarth commented today:

“Small Modular Reactor technology has the potential to play a substantial part in the UK’s clean energy future, and also to help boost UK wealth creation by virtue of the significant scope for UK companies to be part of the supply chain for SMR systems. This feasibility report is an important step on the way towards recognising the role which SMR designs can play and helping to capitalise on the opportunities offered.”

The outcome of the study will inform the next steps in the development of Government’s policy approach to SMRs.

You can download a copy of the feasibility study from the Publications section on this website or by clicking on this link