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Small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) offer a way for the UK to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation, while allowing the country to meet the expected increase in demand for electricity from electric vehicles and other uses. That is the claim of Policy Exchange – a UK-based centre-right think tank – which has published the report Small Modular Reactors: The next big thing in energy?. Written by the energy-policy specialist Matt Rooney, the report calls on the UK government to support the development of a SMR.

SMRs are usually considered to have electrical outputs of about 300 MW or less. In comparison, the Hinkley Point C facility currently under construction in southwest England will comprise two reactors, each capable of generating 1630 MW of electricity. SMR components would be standardized and manufactured at central facilities before being assembled on site. While the first few SMRs would be expensive to build, standardized mass production would bring down the price of subsequent units – according to proponents of the technology.

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Category: Science