Small modular nuclear reactors could be “crucial” in the Britain's pursuit of an energy strategy that will need to provide “previously unthinkable levels of new low carbon electric capacity,” said the think tank Policy Exchange in a report issued this week.
“Small modular nuclear ractors could be a crucial technology in the drive to decarbonize our energy system,” said the report titled “Small Modular Reactors: The Next Big Thing In Energy?” The report was published Thursday.
The group called solar and wind power viable, but said “we cannot rely on them for 100 percent of our energy demands – for example January typically sees at least one week where virtually no electriity is produced by either wind or solar compared with what is needed.”
The report also said that importing electricity would become increasingly difficult, given the fact that exporting countries were also turning to solar and wind power and, thus, would become more miserly with what they can produce.
The report calls solar and wind power “diffuse and intermittent.” In addition, the back up support needed to rely on wind and solar power in the form of batteries is expected to cost as much as $1.4 trillion.
The report recommends a swift pursuit of small modular reactors “of at least one third generation (Gen III) small modular design after the results of their current consultation are published.” Also recommended: – Launch a consultation with heavy industry into what services advanced fourth generation (Gen IV) reactor designs could also bring that would be of use to them, like hydrogen production to use in low carbon steel manufacturing
SMR producers should prepare for hydrogen to become a larger part of our economy from replacing the gas currently supplied to homes for heating to powering a new generation of low-carbon vehicles
The government should also commission polling of populations closest to potential sites for SMRs to inform decisions on where they are located
SMR producers should plan to make the most of nuclear capacity, heating nearby homes with the excess water currently pumped into the sea and developing battery storage to ensure the most efficient use of power generated.
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