The government has confirmed an early financing deal to develop a next generation nuclear reactor for a new station in Hartlepool.

Joint recipients today of £3.34 million from the Future Nuclear Enabling Fund are a wholly-owned UK offshoot of privately held US nuclear technologists X-Energy Reactor, and Cavendish Nuclear, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Babcock International.  X-Energy will chip in an equivalent sum.

The pair want to develop a 12-reactor plant on Teesside, to be ready by the early 2030s. They see Hartlepool as the first of up to 40 of X-Energy’s small modular Xe-100 reactors in the UK.

Besides high skill jobs in construction & operations, the partnership’s wish list sees such a fleet as generating 3,200 MW of electricity, enough to power six million homes, or 8,000 MW of versatile high temperature heat and steam to support zero-carbon manufacturing and industrial processes.

The companies plan to engage with the UK nuclear regulators to evaluate approaches to licensing X-Energy’s proprietary Xe-100 AMR design, pictured.  It is already progressing through early assessments by nuclear regulators in Canada and the US.

“The government is backing innovation in nuclear – from building large-scale plants better to encouraging new advanced technologies – to achieve our ambition for a quarter of our electricity to come from nuclear power by 2050,” said Andrew Bowie MP, minister for nuclear & renewables.

“This funding supports the next step in the development of advanced modular reactors”.

The two companies will use the funds to develop UK-specific deployment plans including an assessment of domestic manufacturing and supply chain opportunities, constructability and fuel management.

X-energy and Cavendish Nuclear also announced a partnership with Kier, the leading infrastructure builder, to support supply chain analyses.

Kier joins steel producer and engineer Sheffield Forgemasters and the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC) to support X-energy and Cavendish Nuclear in completing the scope outlined in their proposal. The companies’ goal is for 80% of the value of the Xe-100 projects to flow to UK firms.

Last year X-energy and Cavendish Nuclear signed a memorandum of understanding with Howden, the Glasgow-based gas circulation component manufacturer. They will also work with Nuclear Waste Services to review the approach to spent fuel management.

“We are delighted to receive this FNEF award from the Government. It reflects the readiness of our advanced technology to contribute to the UK’s energy needs in the next wave of new nuclear,” said Carol Tansley, X-energy’s UK market leader and Vice President of Projects. “Building on X-energy’s initial deployment with Dow on the U.S. Gulf Coast, we can create both jobs and long-term energy security in the UK with clean, reliable advanced nuclear power.”

The funding is intended for potential nuclear projects with mature technologies that could be in a position to take a Final Investment Decision (FID) within the next parliament. It aims to help industry reduce project risks so they are better positioned for future investment decisions.


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