Advanced nuclear technology plants—plans and prospects for the UK
Produced in partnership with Paul Butcher of Herbert Smith Freehills

The following Energy practice note produced in partnership with Paul Butcher of Herbert Smith Freehills provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Advanced nuclear technology plants—plans and prospects for the UK
  • What are Advanced Nuclear Technologies (ANT)?
  • The UK's position
  • Planning and Regulation
  • Licensing
  • Siting
  • The Planning Act 2008
  • Decommissioning
  • Insurance

Advanced nuclear technology plants—plans and prospects for the UK

What are Advanced Nuclear Technologies (ANT)?

The term ‘ANT’ is used to aggregate the most recent types of nuclear technologies. These are 'small modular reactors', 'small and medium-sized reactors', micro nuclear reactors and advanced modular reactors.

The term 'SMR' is used interchangeably to mean 'small modular reactors' or 'small and medium-sized reactors'. Both are advanced smaller-scale nuclear reactors. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), small-sized reactors have a capacity under 300 megawatts (MWe), while medium-sized reactors have a capacity of between 300–700 MWe—one-tenth of Hinkley Point C, the nuclear power station being developed in Somerset, England.

SMRs are factory-built and brought to site for installation, reducing siting costs and construction time from five to eight years (for conventional reactors) to as little as 18 to 24 months. Additional units or modules can be added over time as and when required to build a larger nuclear power plant. SMRs can be transported by truck, rail or barge, and are therefore expected to require fewer structures, systems and components than large-scale nuclear reactors. Designs include water-cooled reactors, gas cooled reactors and liquid-metal cooled reactors with fast neutron spectrum. SMRs can be placed below ground level, providing resistance to natural or man-made threats and could be argued to offer a greater level of safety and reliability than conventional large-scale

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