The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) recently announced that our proposal to develop an Advanced Modular Reactor (AMR) at Hartlepool has won almost half a million pounds of funding to further explore the concept as part of BEIS funded AMR Research, Development and Demonstration (RD&D) programme.
The UK Government has made their intentions clear in the AMR RD&D programme, to deliver a High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactor (HTGR) in the UK by the early 2030’s. The driver for this technology is the high temperature output which could be used directly in industrial applications to mitigate the use of fossil fuels and therefore, decarbonising a challenging part of the UK energy market.
EDF UK’s proposal to BEIS was based on an end user driven project, with a focus on delivering an HTGR demonstrator (or first of a kind) at EDF UK’s Hartlepool site. Hartlepool has a long nuclear history, ample space around existing nuclear site and surrounded by heavy industry, who are the end users of the thermal energy. This makes it an ideal site to act as a site for both HTGR demonstrator and potentially subsequent commercial units. The project has called this Hartlepool Heat Hub. Independent studies commissioned by BEIS have also identified Hartlepool as the best site in the UK for an AMR demonstrator plant.
The EDF UK project (Generation and EDF UK R&D) is one of 4 successful reactor demonstration projects, the other successful projects being U-Battery, NNL in collaboration with the Japanese Atomic Energy Authority and the Ultra Safe Nuclear Company (USNC). One thing that sets the EDF project apart is we do not have an HTGR design. However, EDF UK has the best site (Hartlepool) and probably more importantly we have over 40+ years of experience of operating high temperature gas cooled plant. AGRs and HTGRs share many similarities, and EDF UK has a unique insight in how to manage such plants (notably around fuel, graphite and structural integrity) in the UK regulatory framework. Therefore, EDF UK are the perfect partner to support BEIS and HTGR vendors to bring this technology to fruition in the UK.