U-Battery unveils full-scale AMR mockup

Article by Amanda Jasi

U-BATTERY Ltd has unveiled a full-scale mockup of a first-of-a-kind advanced modular reactor (AMR), offering a tangible example of a nuclear technology.

This represents a successful step towards using AMR technology to provide low carbon, cost effective, locally embedded, and reliable power, as well as heat for diverse energy applications, including energy intensive industries and remote locations.

Known as U-Battery, the company’s high temperature, gas-cooled AMR has scalable output of 10 MW of thermal energy, of which 4 MW could be delivered as electricity. U-Battery Ltd acts as the holding company for the U-Battery project.

The full-sized model includes two main vessels – the reactor pressure vessel and intermediate heat exchanger vessel – and the connecting duct.   

It was made possible with funding awarded by the UK’s Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) under the Advanced Manufacturing and Materials (AMM) investment programme. Part of the UK’s Nuclear Innovation Programme, AMM focuses on increasing manufacturing or technology readiness levels. BEIS has not published the funding figure.

U-Battery is also participating in the UK’s AMR feasibility and development project and was awarded £10m (US$13.6m) to initiate design and development work in July. It was one of three vendors to advance from Phase 1 to Phase 2 of the competition.

The full-scale model was revealed at an event hosted by U-Battery and nuclear industry supplier Cavendish Nuclear, at Cavendish Nuclear’s Whetstone facility in Leicestershire, UK. The event was attended by representatives from UK Government, academia, and the nuclear industry.

Cavendish is supporting U-Battery to evolve the design across areas such as autonomous operation and refuelling.

Steve Threlfall, General Manager of U-Battery, said: “The team from U-Battery and Cavendish Nuclear has shown strong commitment and dedication in the way they overcame a number of challenges to bring this unique fabrication to life.

“By building a full-scale model, people get a real sense of what an AMR looks like as well as how it can be built. It also enabled us to determine the requirements for the concept design and justify the nuclear power plant’s operational safety case. This is why the mockup is essential to the delivery of what will be our first power plant.”

“Our aim is to take advantage of the economies of scale used in advanced manufacturing and modularisation settings and production line assembly techniques to produce this new generation of AMR technology, which will make a valuable contribution to the UK’s decarbonisation efforts, and, in turn, help deliver net zero. We are now working to form new partnerships to support the next phase of U-Battery’s design and development.”

Greg Hands, Minister of State at BEIS, said: “The U-Battery mockup is an excellent example of the Advanced Manufacturing and Materials Programme in action, demonstrating innovative technologies which Government and industry believe will be central to manufacturing next-generation nuclear power plants.”

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff reporter, The Chemical Engineer

Recent Editions

Catch up on the latest news, views and jobs from The Chemical Engineer. Below are the four latest issues. View a wider selection of the archive from within the Magazine section of this site.