US-based NuScale Power on 6 September launched an action plan for the near-term deployment of small modular reactors (SMRs) in the UK. 

"Our UK SMR Action Plan sets out a clear vision for NuScale's technology to be rolling off production lines in UK factories, generating power for UK homes in the 2020s and transforming the UK into a hub for export into a lucrative global market," said Tom Mundy, NuScale's chief commercial officer and managing director for the UK and Europe.

NuScale said a UK-US partnership offers the best option for near-term delivery of SMRs. The action plan is based on collaboration with UK organisations over the past few years including Ultra Electronics, Sheffield Forgemasters (supported by Innovate UK) and the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC). However, Mundy warned: "The window of opportunity is closing, and for the benefits of our UK vision of near-term SMR deployments to be fully realised, decisions must be taken by Government now."

NuScale said its SMR design, in which it has already invested $600m, could be deployed in the UK within the next ten years. A single NuScale module can generate 50MWe, with a power plant comprising up to 12 modules to produce 600MWe.

The design is an integral PWR, which houses the reactor core, pressuriser and steam generator inside a single containment vessel. The modular design, which can be factory manufactured, also leverages passive safety features.

NuScale envisages establishing the UK as an export hub to target a global SMR market, which it says could be worth up to £400 billion by 2035. The firm also said that British companies could potentially provide more than 85% of the content required for a UK SMR fleet.

The launch of the UK action plan follows licensing activities in the United States. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission accepted its NuScale's design certification application for review in March. The first commercial NuScale power plant is planned for construction at Idaho National Laboratory and is expected to start up in from 2026.  It will be owned by the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems and operated by Energy Northwest.

Photo: NuScale Power Module (Credit: NuScale)