13.09.2017_No182 / News in Brief

SMRs Can Deliver Electricity For Similar Cost To Offshore Wind, Says Rolls Royce

Research & Development

13 Sep (NucNet): Small modular reactor (SMR) projects could deliver electricity to Britain for a similar cost to offshore wind, Rolls-Royce said in a report published on 12 September 2017. The company and partners, including Amec Foster Wheeler, Arup, Laing O’Rourke and Nuvia, say SMRs could produce energy for as low as £60 (€66, $79) per MWh, which is competitive against wind and solar and significantly lower than the £92.50 per MWh agreed by the government and project developer EDF for the new Hinkley Point C nuclear station. The consortium announced earlier this year that it was entering a £250m competition started in March 2016 by the UK government, which wants to find the best SMR design for civil use. The companies are looking to create a partnership which will build entire running power plants capable of powering a city. Once the initial design is licensed, parts can be made on a factory production line relatively cheaply. The companies see SMRs as complementary to the large reactor programme, rather than a replacement. They believe that SMRs will strengthen the UK’s energy security by reducing reliance on foreign gas imports and smoothing out the impact of intermittent generation technologies such as wind and solar. The study, entitled ‘UK SMR: A National Endeavour’, urges ministers to support the development of British-manufactured SMRs, which could create 40,000 skilled jobs, contribute £100bn to the economy and open up a £400bn export market. The report argues that a UK SMR programme would avoid the complexities, delays and overspends often associated with infrastructure projects. Offshore wind has fallen in cost over the past few years with a government auction for subsidy contracts this week awarding offshore wind projects due to generate power in 2021-22 contracts at £74.75 per MWh, while those set to generate in 2022-23 were awarded contracts for £57.50 per MWh. That price is half of what new offshore windfarms were being awarded just two years ago. The Rolls Royce report is online: http://bit.ly/2woHjuf

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David Dalton

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