CivilReactors

newcleo Seeks Justification to Build Its Reactor

Image: newcleo

A UK nuclear trade group has submitted newcleo’s reactor design to the UK government for justification—the country’s first ever application of its kind for an advanced nuclear technology. 

This marks the first new reactor design submission in the UK in nearly a decade. 

  • This application step, known as the justification process, is just one regulatory hurdle required before any company in the UK can introduce practices that involve ionizing radiation. 
  • It doesn’t offer a permit or license for a specific project, but rather a “generic decision” based on the benefits of the LFR-AS-200 reactor and whether they trump any possible safety risks.
  • Newcleo must also demonstrate that the reactor design can support nuclear energy’s contribution to a stable electricity grid in the UK, which the company said is crucial to maintain economic competitiveness and lower consumer costs. 

newcleo 101: The London-based startup’s LFR-AS-200 fast reactor design is cooled by molten lead and can run at high temperatures and at near atmospheric pressure. That’s because lead has a super high boiling point—around 3,180 degrees Fahrenheit—and low vapor pressure.

Moving forward, newcleo aims to deliver a commercial reactor by 2033, which could aid the UK in its goal of creating 24GW of nuclear generation by 2050 (up to ~4x the country’s current domestic nuclear capacity).

“Advanced reactors like newcleo’s lead-cooled fast reactor design have enormous potential to support the UK’s energy security and net zero transition,” said Tom Greatex, CEO of the Nuclear Industry Association, in a release. “This is an opportunity for the UK Government to demonstrate that it backs advanced nuclear technologies to support a robust clean power mix and to reinvigorate the UK’s proud tradition of nuclear innovation.”

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