New micro-modular reactor for Ultra Safe Nuclear Corp

25 July 2023

Jacobs has been selected by Ultra-safe Nuclear Corporation UK (USNC) to support the design and development of a new micro modular power reactor. The UK’s Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has awarded USNC a grant of up to $29 million toward the development cost of the MMR Energy System. The grant, match funded by USNC, will enable the second phase of work toward building a UK demonstrator of the high-temperature gas-cooled reactor by the early 2030s.

“This high-temperature reactor has the potential to assist the world’s energy transition and take nuclear power into a new era,” said Jacobs Energy, Security & Technology senior VP Karen Wiemelt. “With 60 years of experience in research, design and operational support for high-temperature gas-cooled reactors, Jacobs is ideally placed to support USNC through a range of scientific, engineering and programme management capabilities.”

Jacobs will support the front-end engineering design programme as a leading subcontractor to USNC. This will include reactor analysis, the refuelling system, primary and secondary systems, safety systems, associated testing facilities, human factors, safety case and security, licensing and regulation, overall system integration and preparation for delivery of the demonstrator model. 

Seattle-based USNC plans to deploy its MMR Energy System in North America and Europe and has demonstration projects underway at Canadian Nuclear Laboratories and at the University of Illinois.

Using encapsulated TRISO particle fuel and cooled by helium, the MMR Energy System is designed to meet the highest safety standards and emits no carbon during operation. It is designed to replace gas plants that are currently being used to balance power grids, covering renewable source intermittency. The reactor can provide power for urban areas, large industrial users, or off-grid locations, and the UK demonstrator will also focus on the production of high-temperature process heat for industrial applications.

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