The UK Government has selected X-Energy and Cavendish Nuclear for an award from the Future Nuclear Enabling Fund (FNEF), granting £3.34m ($4.22m) to advance their plans for advanced modular reactors (AMRs) in the country.

X-Energy will contribute an additional £3.34m to match the government’s investment.

UK Minister for Nuclear and Renewables Andrew Bowie stated: “We are backing innovation in nuclear – from building large-scale plants better to encouraging new advanced technologies – to achieve our ambition for a quarter of our electricity to come from nuclear power by 2050.

“This funding supports the next step in the development of advanced modular reactors and shows our commitment to keeping the UK at the forefront of nuclear technology.”

The collaboration between X-Energy and Cavendish Nuclear aims to establish a 12-reactor plant in Hartlepool by the early 2030s.

Hartlepool is envisioned as the first of 40 X-Energy Xe-100 small modular reactors across the UK.

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X-Energy UK market leader and projects vice-president Carol Tansley stated: “We are delighted to receive this FNEF award from the government. It reflects the readiness of our advanced technology to contribute to the UK’s energy needs in the next wave of new nuclear.

“Building on X-energy’s initial deployment with Dow on the US Gulf Coast, we can create both jobs and long-term energy security in the UK with clean, reliable advanced nuclear power.”

The reactors will eventually generate 3.2GW of electricity, sufficient to supply six million homes.

Alternatively, they could produce 8GW of high-temperature heat and steam, which could be utilised in zero-carbon manufacturing and industrial processes.

The companies will explore the licensing process for X-Energy’s proprietary Xe-100 AMR design with the UK’s nuclear regulators.

The design is already undergoing preliminary evaluations by nuclear authorities in Canada and the US.

The awarded funds will be used by X-Energy and Cavendish Nuclear to tailor their deployment plans to the UK context.

This includes assessments of domestic manufacturing capabilities, supply chain opportunities, constructability and fuel management strategies.

X-Energy and Cavendish Nuclear have also announced a collaboration with infrastructure construction company Kier, to conduct supply chain analyses.

Kier will join forces with steel production and engineering company Sheffield Forgemasters and the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre to assist in fulfilling the objectives set out in the proposal.

X-Energy and Cavendish Nuclear previously signed a memorandum of understanding with Howden, a Glasgow-based manufacturer specialising in gas circulation components. They also plan to consult with Nuclear Waste Services to devise a strategy for managing spent nuclear fuel.