British consumers could benefit from lower cost electricity if the government were to back a small modular reactor program for the UK, according to a report by Rolls-Royce and its partners in a UK Small Modular Reactor (SMR) consortium.
The company and partners, including Amec Foster Wheeler, Arup, Laing O’Rourke and Nuvia, say SMRs could produce energy for as low as £60 per megawatt hour ($80.40), which it says is competitive against wind and solar.
In mid-September, the UK government awarded a contract to Dong Energy to build the 1,386 megawatt-capacity Hornsea Project Two windfarm in the North Sea, some 90 kilometers off the Yorkshire coast. The contract equates to a cost of £57.50 per MWh ($76.19), around half the cost of allocations made two years ago.
The SMR report argues that, through its innovative approach to modular construction, the UK SMR program is able to avoid the "complexities, delays, and overspends" often associated with infrastructure projects.
In a foreword to the report, Lord Hutton, Chairman of the Nuclear Industry Association, says: “It is vitally important to make the decision to move forward on this opportunity now. That is why the UK Government should make clear its intentions so that the UK can deliver a solution that will supply secure, reliable and affordable electricity for more than 60 years and capitalize on new overseas markets that are emerging for SMRs.”