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The nuclear option – To what question are Small Modular Reactors the answer?

Durham Energy Institute

Wednesday, 9 November 2016 from 18:00 to 19:00 (GMT)

The nuclear option – To what question are Small...

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Free ticket 9 Nov 2016 Free  

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Nuclear power is the only large-scale, reliable, dispatchable source of low-carbon energy. Civil nuclear has powered the UK since 1956 and still provides 20% of the country’s electricity but our existing plant is due to retire in the next decade and urgently needs replacing. A rigid adhesion to ‘economies of scale’ theory has seen nuclear plant globally on a trajectory of ever-increasing size, leading many projects to be massively over-budget and over-schedule. SMRs claim to offer a different model, different technology, and different applications. Their financial viability relies on mass production, in factories and transported to sites, fuelled and ready to plug in.

Could the economies of mass production compete with the economies of scale?

What are the political and social obstacles to mass deployment of SMRs?

This lecture explores the latest developments on SMRs and whether they could live up to their promise for a better nuclear future.

Candida Whitmill is the Managing Director of Penultimate Power UK, a company set up in the North East to overcome the political, technical and financial challenges to bring SMRs, Small Modular Reactors, to commercialisation in the UK.  The mission is to develop both a domestic and export market, utilising UK nuclear expertise in research and development and the supply chain. Previously, Candida was Chairman of the UK Tidal Forum and worked closely with Government and stakeholders on the £9m Feasibility Study on the Severn Barrage and alternative tidal options. She was an Energy advisor to the Secretary of State at Department of Trade & Industry for five years. For her MSc, Candida researched the impact of renewable energy on the economy.

Candida has had papers published on Small Modular Reactors, tidal energy, energy policy, innovation and energy economics. She co-authored “A Pragmatic Energy Policy for the UK.”

The lecture will be followed by a networking drinks reception. Free parking is available on campus after 5pm.

Do you have questions about The nuclear option – To what question are Small Modular Reactors the answer?? Contact Durham Energy Institute

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When & Where


Ken Wade Lecture Theatre
Calman Learning Centre , Science Site
Durham University
DH1 3LE Durham City
United Kingdom

Wednesday, 9 November 2016 from 18:00 to 19:00 (GMT)


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Durham Energy Institute

From Anthropology to Physics, Durham Energy Institute covers the spectrum of energy research but the areas in which we excel are those which lie at the boundaries between the traditional technical disciplines and the social sciences and humanities. We encourage such interdisciplinary work as we feel these areas will yield major breakthroughs. The small size and compact nature of the university is to our advantage as it naturally stimulates interactions between departments and disciplines. Thus, we are agile and responsive and we can quickly assemble bespoke-research teams.

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The nuclear option – To what question are Small Modular Reactors the answer?
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