Tuesday, May 21, 2024

X-Energy plans to build a fleet of 40 small nuclear reactors in the UK

X-Energy UK Holdings, Ltd and Cavendish Nuclear have received a funding award from the UK Government’s Future Nuclear Enabling Fund to further their development plans for Advanced Modular Reactors (AMRs) in the UK.

The total program of £6.68 million will be used to develop UK-specific deployment plans that include domestic manufacturing and supply chain opportunities, modularisation studies, fuel management, and constructability.

X-energy and Cavendish Nuclear also announced a partnership with Kier Group to support constructability and supply chain analyses. The addition of Kier to the team, along with Sheffield Forgemasters and the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC), will certainly help in completing the scope outlined in their FNEF proposal.

The companies aim to have 80% of the value of the Xe-100 projects go to UK firms. They are also working with Nuclear Waste Services to review the approach to spent fuel management.

“We are backing innovation in nuclear – from building large-scale plants better to encouraging new advanced technologies – to achieve our ambition for a quarter of our electricity to come from nuclear power by 2050,” Minister for Nuclear & Renewables Andrew Bowie said. “This funding supports the next step in the development of advanced modular reactors and shows our commitment to keeping the UK at the forefront of nuclear technology.”

“As X-energy’s UK deployment partner, we’re pleased to welcome this award as a key step forward. A fleet of Xe-100s can complement renewables by providing constant or flexible power, producing steam to decarbonize industry, and manufacturing hydrogen and synthetic transport fuels,” said Mick Gornall, Managing Director of Cavendish Nuclear. “Deployment in the UK will create thousands of high-quality, long-term jobs across the country.”

The FNEF program is designed to assist potential nuclear projects with mature technologies that are close to making a Final Investment Decision within the next parliament. Its goal is to help the industry reduce project risks so that they are better positioned for future investment decisions.

X-energy and Cavendish Nuclear are proposing to develop a multi-billion pound 12-reactor plant at Hartlepool, which should be ready by the early 2030s. They plan to construct a fleet of up to 40 advanced small modular Xe-100 reactors in the UK, generating thousands of high-quality jobs during construction and operations. This proposal would provide 3,200 MW of electricity, enough power for 6 million homes, or 8,000 MW of versatile high-temperature heat and steam to support zero-carbon manufacturing and industrial processes.

The companies are taking steps to engage with the UK nuclear regulators to evaluate the licensing approaches for the Xe-100 AMR. The design has already undergone initial assessments by nuclear regulators in Canada and the United States.