Shearwater Energy, which describes itself as a UK-based hybrid clean energy company, is developing a wind-small modular reactor and hydrogen production hybrid energy project in North Wales. Shearwater says it has selected the SMR (Small Modular Reactor) technology being developed by NuScale and has signed a memorandum of understanding with the US company to further collaboration in advancing the proposed project.
The project would provide 3 GWe of zero-carbon energy and is also expected to produce over 3 million kilograms of green hydrogen per year for use by the UK’s transport sector, “ensuring full utilisation of the energy produced”, Shearwater said. The company has submitted a proposal to the UK government and the devolved governments of Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
Under the MoU (Memorandum of Understanding), Shearwater and NuScale will generally explore opportunities for the combined generation of nuclear power based on NuScale’s leading SMR technology, offshore wind energy and hydrogen production at sites in the UK, with a flagship opportunity being explored at Wylfa on Anglesey. As international renewable energy portfolios grow, this collaboration highlights the increasing momentum and need for more flexible and reliable low-carbon energy generation.
NuScale’s assessment of the UK supply chain concluded that more than 75% of the content of a NuScale plant could be sourced within the UK, Shearwater said.
“Combining low-carbon generating technologies enables us to achieve similar performance characteristics to large thermal plants without the high cost, long construction time and environmental legacy,” Shearwater CEO Simon Forster said.
“When fully developed, an SMR-wind plant at Wylfa will provide 3 GW of reliable, zero-carbon electricity at a fraction of the cost of a conventional nuclear power station with surplus energy generation focused on the production of hydrogen to support the transport sector’s transition to low-carbon fuels. Power generation at Wylfa could begin as early as 2027,” he said.
John Hopkins, chairman and CEO of NuScale Power, added in the same statement: “NuScale looks forward to demonstrating the innovative features of our SMR design, and how our load following capability is a perfect complement to Shearwater’s offshore wind project as the country seeks to meet its clean energy goals.”
The UK recently announced plans to expand offshore wind capacity by 2030 and invest in SMR development to meet net-zero carbon emissions goals by 2050.
A Shearwater-NuScale wind-nuclear energy system will provide reliable, load following power to overcome intermittency and grid stability issues, Shearwater said. Additionally, the green hydrogen it produces will support industry, transport, power and homes “providing a further opportunity for decarbonisation and affordable energy security”, it said.
In August last year, NuScale became the first SMR developer ever to receive design approval from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. NuScale says that its first power company customer will be breaking ground in 2023 in the US state of Idaho.
Its SMR design – the NuScale Power Module – is a pressurised water reactor with all the components for steam generation and heat exchange incorporated into a single integrated unit. The company said in November last year that, following value engineering efforts using advanced testing and modelling tools, it had concluded that the unit could generate 77 MWe (gross) per module, or about 924 MWe for a 12-module power plant. The increased power output comes without any major changes to the NPM technology.
Source: World Nuclear News