The boss of Urenco, the enriched uranium supplier that has been put up for sale with a price tag of £9bn, has made the case for mini-nuclear power plants to solve the energy problems of industry and developing countries.
Helmut Engelbrecht said there was a growing case for “small-scale, modular” plants – the type being developed by B&W mPower and America’s NuScale Power – to plug demand for energy without the costs of conventional nuclear.
“The challenge for the industry is to come up with something simple and reliable that can beat wind power on cost – a plug in and play unit,” he said.
He argued that developing countries in particular faced increasing demand for energy but could not afford the upfront costs of a major nuclear plant, along the lines of the £16bn, 3200MW twin-reactor at Britain’s Hinkley Point C, which can provide electricity for 60 years.
“There is evidence that a modular plant can be designed that is every bit as safe as a windmill,” said Mr Engelbrecht, whose backing for such technology coincided with news from MPs on the Energy and Climate Change Committee that they planned a new inquiry into “small nuclear power”. The committee said the International Atomic Energy Agency defined “small” as below 300MW.