The Urenco-led U-Battery consortium has submitted its micro-modular reactor technology for pre-licensing vendor design review with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC).
The project was initiated in 2008 by Urenco and the U-Battery design concept was developed by the Universities of Manchester, the Dalton Institute (UK) and the Technology University of Delft (Netherlands). The development consortium comprises Amec Foster Wheeler, Cammell-Laird, Laing O'Rourke and Urenco. The consortium aims to have a demonstration reactor operating by 2025, and estimates that capital costs will be £40-70 million ($49-86m) by the time the fourth unit is produced.
U-Battery is a micro nuclear reactor intended to produce local power and heat for a range of energy needs, mainly for industrial power units and off-grid locations. One unit produces 10MWt and can provide 750 degrees Celsius of process heat or up to 4MWe as electricity. It will be cooled with helium gas-cooled and will use Triso fuel comprising spherical particles of uranium fuel with a triple carbon-coating which effectively gives each particle its own primary containment system.
U-Battery general manager Steve Threlfall told a UK Nuclear Industry Association conference on small modular reactors (SMRs) in late February that the Canadian market for U-Battery could be "very, very large", with more than 300 locations, each of which could use between one and six batteries. The consortium is considering when to seek licensing in the UK.