UK SMR boost as Laing O'Rourke joins British nuclear consortium


British engineering giant Laing O’Rourke has joined a British consortium developing SMRs (Small Modular Nuclear Reactors).

Laing O’Rourke, the largest privately-owned construction company in the UK, has joined the British consortium developing SMRs (Small Modular Nuclear Reactors), hopefully bringing the technology a step closer to reality in the UK.

According to City AM, the UK SMR joint venture now includes Rolls-Royce, Amec Foster Wheeler, Arup, Nuvia and the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, as well as Laing O’Rourke.

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The joint venture hopes that the first wave of SMRs, which would be factory-built and capable of providing 220-440MWe, could be producing power within 10-15 years.

However, the UK government last year called an open competition to develop designs for SMRs, meaning the venture will face rival designs from the likes of the US firm NuScale and the Chinese state-owned CNNC.

We recently published an overview of SMR technology and how it is likely to progress in the coming year alongside issues such as Brexit and Euratom. Click here to read.

It the added momentum of Laing O’Rourke joining the fray, the UK government must make a decision soon on which direction to take next on SMR development. Watch this space for more updates as they emerge.

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