New reactor designs mean nuclear can do more to cut carbon and fight climate change. New small reactors, better large reactors, advanced reactors, and fusion technology are all on the way.
They let us use more sites, create more heat, and expand our flexibility.
We can decarbonise buildings, transportation, and industry, as well as electricity.
Small Modular Reactors (SMRs)
SMRs are slimmer versions of classic technologies that can operate flexibly and use small sites.
Small Modular Reactors, or SMRs, are slim versions of proven nuclear technologies. They will use smaller sites and have tremendous export potential. SMRs would have the capacity to produce electricity and create hydrogen and synthetic aviation fuels, helping decarbonise challenging areas of the global economy.
The UK is a leader in SMR and is investing in bringing these new solutions online.
SMRs could produce grid electricity, power for data centres or hydrogen for industrial decarbonisation.
The design of an SMR allows them to be constructed using factory-made modules to get new plants built faster.
The global SMR export market could be £250 billion, offering enormous opportunities for leading countries like the UK.
Advance Modular Reactors (AMRs)
AMRs could create extremely high temperatures to help replace fossil fuels in heavy industry.
Advanced Modular Reactors, or AMRs, are innovative designs that expand nuclear green energy solutions. AMRs will be very small, use new fuel types and cooling agents, and operate very high temperatures. Nuclear, alongside wind, is the lowest carbon electricity source on earth.
AMRs small size would allow them to co-locate remote industries like mining, providing electricity directly, and displacing fossil fuels.
The heat generated by AMRs could create hydrogen or be supplied directly to industry.
Developing AMRs would preserve and extend the UK's unique experience with gas-cooled reactors.
Combining tiny atoms rather than splitting big ones: the Sun does it, and we can too.
Fusion energy is when the cores of two small atoms join together: a tiny amount of mass is converted into a massive amount of green energy, with no CO2 created. That's what powers the Sun, and the UK is developing the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) to harness it on earth.
Fusion would use hydrogen atoms isolated from water as fuel, unlocking vast amounts of carbon-free energy.
The UK is a global leader in fusion research, creating green jobs and investment. Currently, the UK has identified a shortlist of five sites for a fusion energy plant.
Now that we have learned a little about the future of nuclear, you can find out more below: