Next-Generation Nuclear Energy Technology to Support Net-Zero

The UK Government plan to introduce the next generation of nuclear energy technology to accelerate net-zero efforts with AMR demonstration.

In support of reaching net-zero emission goals, the UK Government plan to implement next-generation nuclear energy technology within the next ten years. This plan moves a step forward as a Call for Evidence has been published to set out the suggested approach of building an Advanced Modular Reactor (AMR) demonstration.

Ministers plan to invest £170 million by 2030 into delivering the highest potential approach of specifically exploring High-Temperature Gas Reactors (HTGRs). The Call for Evidence will gather information based on three key questions:

  • Do you agree with the government’s preference to explore the potential of high-temperature gas reactors (HTGRs) to meet the key objective of the Programme?
  • Whether there is any new, additional evidence on other AMR technologies that could meet the key objective of the Programme?
  • How the capability of the UK supply chain could support the Programme?

AMRs will drive the future of nuclear technology with additional benefits over traditional nuclear energy stations. They are typically smaller, more flexible and cheaper to build. The potential to create electricity and low-carbon hydrogen contributes to the optimism for HTGRs as the suggested approach to AMRs. This approach could significantly aid the progress to decarbonise this industry by 2050.

Additionally, heat contributes to over 1/3 of UK carbon emissions with the majority share coming from energy-intense industrial processes. HTGRs can generate heat more efficiently at much higher temperatures than any other AMR method at between 500 – 950 degrees Celcius. This could cut emissions from intense processes required to produce things such as glass, cement and chemicals.

Anne Marie Trevelyan, Minister of State for Energy said:

“While renewables like wind and solar will become an integral part of where our electricity will come from by 2050, they will always require a stable low-carbon baseload from nuclear.

Advanced modular reactors are the next level of modern nuclear technology and have the potential to play a crucial role not only in tackling carbon emissions but also in powering industry and driving forward Britain’s economic growth, as we build back greener.”

There are currently six main types of AMRs:

  • Gas-Cooled Fast Reactor
  • Lead-Cooled Fast Reactor
  • Molten Salt Reactor
  • Supercritical Water-Cooled Reactor
  • Sodium-Cooled Fast Reactor
  • High-Temperature Gas Reactor

Each of which could revolutionise the nuclear energy industry and support net-zero goals by utilising new types of fuel and coolant compared to traditional nuclear energy stations. HTGRs have been identified as the best option to use for the demonstration project by the UK Government.

More information is available by speaking to Jason Thackray on 0333 9000 246 or email :