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New £40m Anglesey centre could boost development of small modular reactors

Professional Engineering

An artist's impression of the national thermal hydraulic facility
An artist's impression of the national thermal hydraulic facility

A proposed £40m nuclear test and research facility in North Wales could boost the development of new small modular reactors.

The UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) will develop the design of the Anglesey centre, which will investigate thermal hydraulics – the movement of heat and fluids in reactor systems during the conversion of nuclear energy into electricity.

Understanding the processes will be key to designing efficient future nuclear power stations capable of safely operating for decades, a government announcement said. The announcement referenced nearby Wylfa Newydd in Anglesey and Hinkley Point C in Somerset, which has faced repeated delays.

Test equipment at the facility will allow scientists to carry out data analysis, computer modelling and simulation to aid the development of small modular reactors and advanced modular reactors.

Outline planning permission has been secured at Menai Science Park, Anglesey. The centre is expected to create about 30 permanent jobs, with further benefits to the local economy. It will also house up to 50 visiting scientists.

The UKAEA will work with UK companies to identify how their requirements can be met by the thermal hydraulics facility.

“UKAEA is already working with government and industry partners on upgrading the UK’s nuclear skills and facilities to compete with the best in the world,” said project director Colin Walters. “We are now consulting with potential users of the centre so we can incorporate their requirements in the outline design.”

Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

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