This would incorporate leadership from government, as well as the development of a policy framework, which progressively reduces risks for an SMR developer, the report says.
We have carried out further design and cost assessments which reconfirm the attractiveness of deploying SMRs as CHP plants
Mike Middleton, ETI nuclear strategy manager
Mike Middleton, ETI’s nuclear strategy manager and report author, said: “Our analysis shows that it is possible to have a first of a kind SMR operating by 2030 if SMR developer(s), SMR vendor(s), government and regulators work together in an integrated programme.
“Creating the right environment for increasing investor confidence is critical if this schedule is to be met; there will be a key role for government in the first five years of any such programme to deliver an SMR policy framework which progressively reduces investor risk.”
Elsewhere, the report also examines the economic impact of deploying SMRs as Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plants.
The report suggests that because SMRs offer flexibility, they could deliver low carbon heat into cities via hot water pipelines up to 30km in length.
This flexibility would create new potential SMR sites and could help to decarbonise energy use in buildings, the report adds.
“We have carried out further design and cost assessments which reconfirm the attractiveness of deploying SMRs as CHP plants linked to district heating systems identifying further carbon savings and cost benefits,” Middleton said.
Meanwhile, members of the nuclear industry have welcomed the report, calling for government to now provide the necessary confidence to ensure SMR technology is deployed in the UK.
“The report highlights the important steps needed to be completed if we are to see the deployment of SMRs in a timescale to help secure the UK’s energy supplies and achieve climate change objectives,” said Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association.
“This shows the potential of SMRs as a complementary technology to large scale new nuclear. Not only will it help secure the UK’s low carbon energy, but with its possible application to combined heat and power could also contribute to the decarbonisation of heat as well as the electricity mix,” he added.
Prior to today's report, the deployment of SMRs had already been in discussion for some time, with the government announcing a £250 million programme for the research and development of new nuclear technology in November 2015.
Phase one of the SMR design competition was launched earlier this year.
It includes a combined bid from the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, Rolls-Royce and the National Nuclear Laboratory, which Jean Llewellyn, chief executive of the National Skills Academy for Nuclear (NSAN), told Process Engineering: “looks quite promising.”
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