Sector Deal Announced at Nuclear 2017

A range of announcements were made by ministers at the NIA Nuclear 2017 conference as part of the Nuclear Sector Deal in the government's Industrial Strategy

The South West Nuclear Hub welcomes these exciting announcements by the UK Government. The fact that it wishes to place the country back as global leader for atomic energy technology (both fission and fusion) represents a real landmark shift in ambition and leadership. It presents very exciting opportunities for our researchers and provides the chance to work ever more closely with partners in industry.

Hub Director for Engineering Professor David Knowles added: "It's Good to see funding finally now being released to support an advanced modular reactor programme.  £4m in stage one to support a small number of vendor designs through technical and commercial feasibility studies.  Innovate UK will administer the programme.  Clearly this is only a small step to unlocking the future for advanced nuclear technology.  I would hope that there is more news to come."

Nuclear Sector Deal Key Part of Industrial Strategy

At the Nuclear Industry Association's Nuclear 2017 annual conference energy minister Richard Harrington announced a number of government support initiatives, that centred around Small Modular Reactors (SMRs).  These new technologies are a much-needed next step for the UK in order to be able to meet future energy demand.

The full Nuclear Sector Deal document and the full speech transcript are available to view.

Publication of Techno-Economic Assessments

The results of independent Techno-Economic Assessments (TEA) of SMRs have been published, which were commissioned back in 2015. There are seven projects that make up the TEA and the reports can be read on the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Phase Two of the Nuclear Innovation Programme

£8m of funding for work on safety and security methodologies and advacned fuel studies will be made available

  • £3.7m for reactor design and safety engineering in design processes
  • £4.3m for advanced nuclear fuels research, to support Generation IV technologies

More details on Nuclear Innovation 2016-2021 funding.

Two New Centres of Excellence

£86m investment will go into the nuclear fusion research programme at UKAEA Culham Science Centre in Oxfordshire. Two new centres of excellence will be built by 2020 and will form the National Fusion Technology Platform.

Of special interest to the University of Bristol is the Hydrogen-3 Advanced Technology (H3AT) centre. This will research how to process and store tritium, one of the fuels that will power commercial fusion reactors. The upshot of this activity will be highly beneficial for Bristol's nuclear diamond battery ASPIRE project, which is funded by EPSRC.

Read more on the UKAEA press release.

Advanced modular reactors

The government is providing up to £56m R&D funding for new technologies through a 2-stage Advanced Modular Reactor (AMR) R&D project over 3 years. Stage 1 comprises up to £4 million for feasibility studies and up to £7 million to further develop the capability of nuclear regulators who support and assess advanced nuclear technologies.

If Stage 1 is successful up to £40m further funding will be available for R&D projects and up to a further £5 million for regulators.


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