Small modular reactors: coastal sites under consideration

Coastal towns are being considered as locations for a wave of mini nuclear power stations, as part of Government plans to boost the UK’s power generation. 

The small modular reactors could be built by 2025, with money earmarked for the plan in last month’s Budget.

According to a report in the Sunday Telegraph, sites already identified include several towns in Wales, one of them the site of a former reactor at Trawsfynydd, and some North of England former nuclear or coal-fired power stations. Other potential sites include  Bradwell, Hartlepool, Heysham, Oldbury, Sizewell, Sellafield and Wylfa.

Small modular reactors are cheaper and quicker to build than conventional nuclear power stations. But their output is relatively low so larger numbers are required.

According to reports, the plans have been in existence for several years but were blocked by Liberal Democrat members of the Coalition Cabinet on the grounds that local communities would reject having nuclear plants nearby.

The government is keen to explore the potential for the technology and the Department of Energy and Climate Change's new departmental plan, released in February confirms half its £500m innovation funding budget for emerging clean technologies had been earmarked for nuclear projects.

This include a competition to identify the best value small modular reactor (a small scale nuclear generator) design for the UK, paving the way towards building one of the world's first small modular reactors in the UK in the 2020s.