Costain to partner with U-Battery Developments on modular nuke design

12 January 2021

Infrastructure solutions company Costain is collaborating with U-Battery Developments to develop an advanced modular reactor (AMR). The development is being funded by the UK Department of Business as part of the Energy and Industrial Strategy's Energy Innovation Portfolio. 

This work forms part of Costain’s climate change strategy and is in support of the UK government’s £12 billion Ten Point Plan for carbon reduction to develop new nuclear energy solutions to help achieve the UK’s net zero carbon target.

Tony Davies, new business director for energy at Costain commented: “This project is a fantastic example of working together with industry, academia and research to develop a low carbon and reliable energy source. Costain has a strong nuclear pedigree and this project is testament to our expertise in modularisation and R&D in this field, including plasma vitrification.”

The initial scope of Costain’s work is a feasibility study to develop and interrogate the modular reactor design to intelligently incorporate philosophies such as modularisation, modern methods of construction and design for manufacture and assembly. U-Battery aims to be operational by 2028 and is intended to provide a flexible source of clean, low-carbon, electrical power or process heat (or a combination of both) to serve customers in energy intensive industrial applications and in remote communities.

The key part of the U-battery design is its affordability and adaptable configuration. Costain’s initial role is to advise on the engineering design of the modular, off site construction and installation methods that will ultimately mean the small modular reactor can be competitively priced and deployed locally to meet demand.

The current stage of design development is for an initial eighteen months, progressing towards successful acceptance by the Office for Nuclear Regulation.

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