X-energy UK Holdings, a subsidiary of US-based X-energy Reactor Company and Cavendish Nuclear propose constructing small modular reactors (SMRs) in the UK and have "identified Hartlepool as a preferred location". The companies welcomed EDF's recent announcement that Hartlepool NPP will now operate for two more years until 2026. Carol Tansley, Vice President of UK Nuclear New Build at X-energy said it was “fantastic news”.

X-energy and Cavendish have applied to the UK's Future Nuclear Enabling Fund to support a Generic Design Assessment of the Xe-100 SMR and supply chain development activities for the first project.

"If we begin regulatory assessment this year, we would be well-positioned to have our first unit operating by around 2030, said Tansley.

Cavendish Nuclear Managing Director Mick Gornall said the company “is proud to have been part of the team involved in the construction and operational support of Hartlepool Power Station”. He added: “The Xe-100 can build on gas reactor technologies that have been pioneered in the UK, leveraging the experience in the Hartlepool area and across the UK.”

X-energy and Cavendish aim to secure up to 80% of its plant construction and manufacturing from the UK supply chain. The proposed SMRs could be located on land adjacent to the existing power station. Hartlepool owner and operator EDF Energy has been assessing the applicability of modern nuclear technologies, including the Xe-100, as part of a government-backed programme to encourage advanced nuclear proposals.

Recently X-energy announced a joint development agreement with US Dow to develop a four-unit Xe-100 facility at one of Dow’s US Gulf Coast sites. X-energy was selected by the US Department of Energy (DOE) to receive up to $1.2bn in matching funds under the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP) to develop, license, build, and demonstrate an operational advanced reactor and fuel fabrication facility by the end of the decade. X-energy has since completed the reactor engineering and basic design and is developing a fuel fabrication facility in Oak Ridge in Tennessee. It is working with Dow to prepare and submit an application for its first construction permit to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

X-energy plans to produce the fuel for its UK power plants in the UK.

Image: X-energy has identified Hartlepool as a preferred location for construction of a SMR (courtesy of EDF)