Nuclear developers have called on the UK to collaborate with the US and Canada to ensure they are at the forefront of small modular reactor technology.
Developers have urged the government and industry to start “speaking the same language” as their US and Canada counterparts so they can capitalise on small modular reactor technology (SMR).
Energy consultant Fire Energy director Fiona Reilly said that when it comes to SMR technology, the Western powers are all talking about different things. “When it comes to small reactors, the three countries [the US, Canada and the UK] have a problem, we are all speaking different languages, we are talking about the same things but in different terms.”
In the US, small reactors are defined as any reactor with a 300MW capacity or below, whereas the UK defines an SMR as being up to 600MW.
“If we can’t even agree on the definitions, we won’t agree on regulatory collaboration or financial collaboration,” Reilly said speaking at the Nuclear New Build conference in London.
“We all know that Russia and China are powering ahead with their own developments but for us this is about collaboration and how we get ahead. If we compete against each other, someone will lose and we won’t bring forward the best possible technology to a market that is there for the taking, and industry needs to come forward and support this.”
Reactor developer Moltex chief executive officer Stephen Haighton added the company had moved its first-of-a-kind SMR from the UK to Canada. “[Moltex] are in Canada now because it couldn’t make any head way in the UK,” he said.
“[Moltex] had a completely different reaction to the technology in Canda compared to the UK and saw completely different attitudes to the future of nuclear technology. Moltex’s first-of-a-kind SMR is likely to be in Canada with the UK as an export market instead.”
Earlier this week, National Infrastructure Commission chief economist James Richardson urged caution over the technology, claiming that the industry had a track-record of failing to deliver on emerging technology.
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