UK to Construct First Mini Nuclear Power Plant Globally


The UK government is planning to construct a small modular nuclear reactor (SMR) power plant, which is expected to be safer and more cost-effective than conventional nuclear plants. The UK will invest £375m ($453m) in technology alone, as part of its Energy Security Strategy, aimed at accelerating the deployment of wind, nuclear, solar, and hydrogen energy while minimizing oil and gas production. The plan is to increase the capacity of offshore wind farms to 50 GW by 2030 and to change the licensing criteria for oil and gas projects.

UK government body to create 24 GW nuclear capacity by 2050

The government will establish a new body to develop 24 GW of nuclear capacity by 2050. In addition, the UK aims to increase its domestic production of heat pumps, accelerate onshore wind infrastructure deployment, and prioritize low-carbon energy sources, so that almost all electricity will come from these sources by the end of the decade. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that the development of SMRs would be a crucial part of the government’s plans.

SMRs are a relatively new concept with no country in the world mass-producing them yet. SMRs have small capacity and small size, making them suitable for industrial applications and small sites with limited water supply. SMRs can be switched on and off repeatedly, making them ideal for maintaining green energy capacities that depend on weather conditions.

The UK aims to lead the world in building SMRs, with China, Russia, the United States, and Canada also working on similar projects. Although no country has launched an SMR power plant yet, Canada is planning to implement a pilot project in 2025. There are up to 50 SMR projects worldwide from different developers with different operating principles.

SMRs are safer and more cost-effective than conventional nuclear plants

The advantages of SMRs include their use in industry and small sites where conventional nuclear power plants are not suitable. SMRs do not require powerful power lines and have a high level of safety, with automatic shutdown and no human intervention required in case of an accident. SMRs are suitable for maintaining green energy capacities that directly depend on weather conditions.

The UK’s focus on SMRs could position the country as a leader in the development of nuclear energy. The government’s investment in research and development, as well as its dynamic industries, particularly offshore wind turbines, will enable it to outline its approach in other areas, including SMRs. The development of SMRs has the potential to revolutionize the nuclear power industry, making it safer, more cost-effective, and suitable for a wider range of applications.