U-Battery full scale vessel ‘mock-up’ demonstrates efficiencies of advanced nuclear technology

A full-scale, first of its kind, mock-up of the main vessels of an advanced modular reactor (AMR) was revealed today at an event hosted by U-Battery and Cavendish Nuclear.

The project was to create the full-size model of the reactor pressure vessel, the intermediate heat exchanger vessel and the connecting duct. Its successful completion marks a major milestone in realising the technology’s capability of providing a low carbon, cost effective, locally embedded and reliable source of power and heat for diverse applications, including energy intensive industry and remote locations. It also demonstrates how the AMR can be built using modular techniques, making it easy to construct and transport.

This project results from an award made by the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, under the Advanced Manufacturing and Materials (AMM) programme. Part of the Government’s Nuclear Innovation Programme, the objective of this theme was to enable research and development to bring innovative nuclear technologies to market.

At today’s event, held at Cavendish Nuclear’s Whetstone facility in Leicestershire, representatives from UK Government, academia, the nuclear industry and regulatory bodies were able to see, touch and walk around the U-Battery mock-up to get an up close experience of a tangible example of a future nuclear technology.

Energy Minister, Greg Hands, said:

“We welcome today’s announcement. The U-Battery mock up is an excellent example of the Advanced Manufacturing and Materials Programme in action, demonstrating innovative technologies which Government and industry believe will be central to manufacturing next-generation nuclear power plants.”

Steve Threlfall, General Manager of U-Battery, said:

“The team from U-Battery and Cavendish Nuclear has shown strong commitment and dedication in the way they overcame a number of challenges to bring this unique fabrication to life. 

By building a full-scale model, people get a real sense of what an AMR looks like as well as how it can be built. It also enabled us to determine the requirements for the concept design and justify the nuclear power plant’s operational safety case. This is why the mock-up is essential to the delivery of what will be our first power plant.

Our aim is to take advantage of the economies of scale used in advanced manufacturing and modularisation settings and production line assembly techniques to produce this new generation of AMR technology, which will make a valuable contribution to the UK’s decarbonisation efforts and, in turn, help deliver net-zero. We are now working to form new partnerships to support the next phase of U-Battery’s design and development.”

James Ewence, New Build & Advanced Nuclear Technologies Business Director, Cavendish Nuclear said,

“Working on this exciting phase of the U-Battery development has allowed our team of experienced nuclear engineers, professionals and trusted supply chain to demonstrate the wealth of their experience gained from supporting the UK Advanced Gas Reactor fleet, in combination with up to date modularisation techniques, which have more recently been used in decommissioning projects, to deliver this first of a kind advanced modular reactor (AMR) mock up.”