Britain has moved one step closer to building the first Advanced Modular Reactor (AMR) demonstrator and plans to have it up and running within the next decade. The Government aims to use the latest nuclear technology to generate low-carbon hydrogen as the UK presses ahead with reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has today set out a programme to trial the new energy source and it forms part of a £170m investment into research and development.
Ministers also confirmed a new Advanced Nuclear Skills and Innovation Campus will also be piloted in Preston.
The announcement comes as Whitehall is reportedly looking to block a Chinese state-owned nuclear energy company from all future power projects in the UK.
The Government has already made moves to cut future dependency on Beijing by stripping technology giant Huawei from the domestic 5G network amid security fears.
AMR’s are typically smaller than conventional nuclear power stations, more flexible, and could be built at a fraction of the cost.
Ministers hope well as safely creating electricity to power homes on the national grid, High Temperature Gas Reactors (HTGR) will also be able to generate low-carbon hydrogen.
It is estimated around 37 percent of the UK’s carbon emissions come from heat, with heavy industrial processes a big polluter.
Dame Sue Ion, fellow at the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering, added he plans to show the “tremendous potential of advanced nuclear power”.
She said: “This proposal is extremely welcome news and demonstrates the tremendous potential of advanced nuclear power, which could be expanded safely to improve the overall efficiency of our energy system, but also help decarbonise difficult to help heavy industry, to help meet the UK’s net-zero goal.
“This Advanced Modular Reactor demonstration plays to the UK strengths in nuclear fuel and gas cooled reactors in building a technology platform for HTGRs for the UK to exploit and potentially export internationally.”