29.09.2016_No193 / News in Brief

SMRs Could Deliver Low-Carbon Heat To Cities, Says UK Report

Research & Development

29 Sep (NucNet) Due to their smaller size and easier siting small modular reactors (SMRs) offer flexibility and could deliver low-carbon heat into cities via hot water pipelines up to 30km in length, according to a new report by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI). The report says this flexibility opens up new potential sites and could help to decarbonise energy use in buildings. Consideration should be given to the concept of deploying SMRs as “CHP [combined heat and power] ready”, even if there is no firm local demand for district heating systems at the time of SMR deployment. This is because the additional costs are small and the potential future revenues large, bringing benefits to both consumers and SMR operators, the report says. CHP generates electricity whilst also capturing usable heat that is produced in this process. This contrasts with conventional ways of generating electricity where vast amounts of heat is wasted. One of the benefits of SMRs is that they can be built to a standard design in factories before being assembled on site. This standardisation has the potential to accelerate cost reduction through the economy of multiples. The report says SMRs could be operating in the UK by 2030 and the government has a crucial role to play in encouraging early investor confidence. The report says that “a credible integrated schedule” can be achieved if action is taken to create investor confidence through the development of a policy framework which progressively reduces risks for an SMR developer. The ETI is a public-private partnership between global energy and engineering companies and the UK government. The report is online: http://bit.ly/2dbY6L9

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David Dalton

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