UPDATED 1 Sept: The EI library in London is temporarily closed to the public, as a precautionary measure in light of the ongoing COVID-19 situation. The Knowledge Service will still be answering email queries via email , or via live chats during working hours (09:15-17:00 GMT). Our e-library is always open for members here: eLibrary , for full-text access to over 200 e-books and millions of articles. Thank you for your patience.
New Energy World magazine logo
New Energy World magazine logo
ISSN 2753-7757 (Online)

Small is beautiful: UK plans for small modular nuclear reactors


10 min read

Computer generated image of small nuclear reactor set in green fields against a blue sky Photo: Rolls-Royce SMR
CGI rendering of Rolls-Royce small modular reactor – potential sites are currently being investigated at decommissioned nuclear sites around the UK

Photo: Rolls-Royce SMR

As momentum gathers under the UK government’s Nuclear Roadmap, Great British Nuclear (GBN) has selected six companies to advance to the next phase of the Small Modular Reactor (SMR) Competition. What’s on offer and how do the technology options differ here and worldwide? asks New Energy World Features Editor Brian Davis.

The SMR Competition is part of the UK government’s plan to revive nuclear power in the face of a global race to deliver cleaner and more secure energy. Though debate continues whether nuclear can be considered ‘clean’ or be defined as ‘renewable energy’ in certain countries (such as Austria), there is a lot of confidence in the sector about the potential of SMRs, designs which are based on well-established technology with a high safety factor.


Currently there are no SMRs operating anywhere in the world, but plenty of R&D programmes are underway.


The UK government’s ambition is to ensure that up to 25% of all UK electricity capacity (about 24 GW) will be generated by nuclear power by 2050 – quadruple the country’s current nuclear energy capacity.


This content is for EI members only.
or join us as an EI Member to read all our Feature articles and receive exclusive EI perks from as little as £6 a month.