Costain to partner with U-Battery on advanced modular reactor

13 January 2021

U-Battery's micro modular reactor (Credit: U-Battery)UK-based Costain announced that it is collaborating with U-Battery Developments Ltd to develop an advanced modular reactor (AMR) which is being funded by the UK Department of Business as part of the Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Energy (BEIS) Innovation Portfolio.

The work forms part of Costain’s climate change strategy and is in support of the UK Government’s Ten Point Plan for carbon reduction to develop new nuclear energy solutions to help achieve the UK’s net zero carbon target.

The initial scope of Costain’s work is a feasibility study to develop and interrogate the modular reactor design to intelligently incorporate philosophies such as Modularisation, Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) and Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA).

U-Battery aims to be operational by 2028 and will provide a flexible source of clean, low-carbon, electrical power or process heat (or a combination of both) to serve customers including energy intensive industrial applications and remote communities.

The conceptual U-Battery design was developed by the Universities of Manchester (UK) and Delft (Netherlands) after the project was initiated by Urenco. It is now being developed by Urenco in partnership with Jacobs and Kinectrics. The strategic goal is to have a first-of-a-kind (FOAK) U-Battery operating by 2028.

U-Battery Ltd was set up to act as the holding company for the U-Battery project, and to enable its subsidiary companies, U-Battery Developments Limited and U-Battery Canada Limited, to take forward  the reactor design, construction and operation in the UK and Canada.

U-Battery’s strategy aims by the late 2020s  to deliver a UK FOAK U-Battery, potentially at Urenco UK Limited’s nuclear licensed site at Capenhurst in Cheshire, and/or a Canadian FOAK U-Battery potentially at Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ Chalk River nuclear licensed site at Chalk River in Ontario. U-Battery Limited does not intend to be the reactor operator.

Costain said the key part of the U-battery design is its affordability and adaptable configuration. Costain’s initial role is to advise on the engineering design of the modular, off site construction and installation methods that will ultimately mean the small modular reactor can be competitively priced and deployed locally to meet demand.

The current stage of design development is for an initial eighteen months, progressing towards successful acceptance by the UK Office for Nuclear Regulation.

Photo: The U-Battery reactor (Credit: U-Battery)

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