Sheffield Forgemasters, with X-energy and Cavendish Nuclear, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on the next generation of UK nuclear reactors. The collaboration will explore opportunities around the deployment of a fleet of Xe-100 Generation IV Advanced Reactors in the UK, based on High-Temperature Gas-cooled Reactor technology.

Sheffield Forgemasters’ will contribute its decades of experience in the development of nuclear forgings and castings, with plans to build up to 40 Xe-100s across the country as the UK looks towards nuclear as a zero-carbon energy source.

Dominic Ashmore, head of Strategy and Business Development – Clean Energy at Sheffield Forgemasters commented: “Following the key step forward recently made by Great British Nuclear (GBN) to boost UK nuclear power generation through small modular reactor (SMR) development, GBN is also developing a route to market for other technologies, including advanced nuclear and a consultation will be published this autumn … this MOU is the latest in a line of agreements that we have signed with a number of SMR companies looking to deploy in the UK market. Our work with X-Energy and Cavendish Nuclear will provide specialist engineering services, support and components including forgings, to the UK Xe-100 deployment programme.

“Sheffield Forgemasters will undertake a detailed review of the Xe-100 forgings and look to facilitate more definitive cost estimates and production plans. The Xe-100 reactor is capable of producing high temperature heat and steam for clean industrial applications as well as electricity. The MoU is the latest step in building up a UK supply chain to ensure the benefits of the programme flow to British companies.”

Carol Tansley, vp, UK New Build Projects at X-energy said: “Our technology will be the first small modular reactor operational in the US and we want to build on that progress by moving forward quickly with our UK programme. A UK fleet of 40 reactors would not only see us play a crucial role in delivering clean electricity and industrial decarbonisation but also bring huge opportunities for companies right across the UK.”

Image: Artist’s impression of an Xe-100 power plant