Small modular reactors – we’re at the forefront

There has never been a greater need for safe, low-carbon and affordable electricity. Fossil fuels are being replaced by renewables and storage but nuclear power remains essential in ensuring that we can still heat our homes and charge up our cars on cold, dark nights or when there’s no wind. Conventional nuclear reactors have been getting bigger. This produces greater thermal efficiency but also makes them more difficult to fabricate, construct and finance. Small modular reactors (SMRs) benefit from smarter, simpler and more innovative design and manufacturing processes. Off-site factory build will keep costs down, transportation is easier and assembly and construction times are much reduced.

Wood’s role in SMR development

Wood has significant experience in the design and build of the current fleet of Generation III AGR and PWR reactors in the UK. It is using that experience as a member of the consortium led by Rolls-Royce which is developing a Gen III+ nuclear power plant in conjunction with partners who contribute civil engineering and advanced manufacturing skills and capabilities. This development is being funded by the industrial consortium in partnership with matched funding from the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

This SMR will bolster the UK’s ambitions to tackle climate change and could create 40,000 jobs, reinvigorating a vital part of the country’s advanced manufacturing base and potentially generating hundreds of billions of pounds in export revenues.

Our teams are supporting work on the basis of design concepts across the nuclear island and balance of plant and contributing to the early stages of the safety case, plant performance, fuel route, control and instrumentation, the containment building concept and the reactor design.

Wood’s background as a key supplier to every UK nuclear new build project means that we are well qualified and positioned to support any SMR application through the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) and detailed analysis phases.

Wood is also working on several Generation IV Advanced Modular Reactor (AMR) concepts and designs with AMR vendors. Wood has significant Gen IV experience from our work in European Union and UK government-funded R&D during the past 25 years and is deploying that knowledge to add value as these concepts progress through the early stages of technology readiness.