Build small reactor schemes on existing nuclear sites, says government advisory body

Locating new small nuclear reactor projects on existing nuclear facilities would help to 'de-risk the planning and public consultation processes' associated with such developments, a report by a government advisory body has said.

Nuclear: government wants to harness small reactor technology
Nuclear: government wants to harness small reactor technology

The Expert Finance Working Group was convened by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in January to consider what was needed to attract private financing to small reactor projects.

According to the group’s report, published yesterday, small nuclear reactor projects would range from "microgeneration projects through to 600MW reactors".

The government intends to use such schemes to help it meet energy decarbonisation targets.

Amongst its recommendations, the report says that "utilising existing nuclear sites for the development of small reactors would significantly de-risk small nuclear projects".

"The communities and local authorities around the nuclear sites are in favour of nuclear and recognise the benefits of those sites in terms of jobs and the local economy. Having a site which is acceptable to the local community helps to de-risk the planning and public consultation processes associated with [nuclear] developments.

"This would reduce the risks of delays and in turn cost overruns of the [scheme]", the report says.

The report adds that such co-location would allow developers of small nuclear schemes "to utilise the existing site licensees on existing sites thereby not only reducing the risks associated with licensing and regulatory compliance but also reducing the construction and operating costs for the facility".

The report says that small nuclear reactors could be in operation by 2030. 

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