Sheffield in £400bn drive for nuclear

Geoff Moreman operating the Soraluce FX12000, the largest machine at the Nuclear AMRC
Geoff Moreman operating the Soraluce FX12000, the largest machine at the Nuclear AMRC

A Sheffield research centre is poised to lead a £400bn drive to generate nuclear energy following the Paris climate change agreement.

The base, owned by Sheffield University, is at the forefront of moves to develop small modular nuclear reactors.

Built in a factory and small enough to fit on the back of a lorry, they can be linked together to generate the same power as a full size nuclear power station - but much faster and without the huge costs.

The Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre is the only place on the planet with machines ready to build a prototype, according to spokesman Richard Caborn, a former business minister and Sheffield MP.

They could be on the market in five years and helping the UK and countries across Europe meet climate change commitments, he added.

Globally the market is estimated to be worth £400bn by 2035.

In Paris earlier this month, scores of countries agreed to limit carbon emissions in an attempt to keep global warming below 2C.

Mr Caborn said the Paris deal created a “window of opportunity” for the Nuclear AMRC to lead the world.

He added: “It’s the future of energy without a doubt, especially following Paris.

“No other form of energy can be carbon free, yet SMRs are flexible, affordable and factory-built. In this case small is undoubtedly beautiful.”

The Nuclear AMRC recently signed a deal with US company NuScale to develop a groundbreaking small modular reactor for the UK market.

Regulations on the use of SMRs have yet be agreed by governments.

Plans to build new nuclear power stations in Britain have been dogged by delays over funding.