Read All About It: U-Battery’s Showcasing the Future of Low Carbon Energy
27 April 2022
U-Battery and Cavendish Nuclear invited journalists from national and international media to a briefing and showcase of U-Battery’s full-scale reactor module mock-up at Cavendish’s Whetstone site in Leicestershire, UK.
This 1:1 mock-up is a milestone in the development of AMR technology that will provide a low carbon, cost effective, locally embedded and reliable source of power and heat for energy intensive industries. The mock-up demonstrates how this reactor design can be built using modular techniques, making it easy to construct and transport, and it had been previously unveiled to policy and industry stakeholders in late 2021.
The attending Japanese, Italian, Austrian, Australian and British journalists were treated to an overview of U-Battery’s progress and a tour of the mock-up, in late February 2022. A key element of this showcase was our guests being able to see the modules up close, bringing U-Battery’s vision to life, and to meet the team behind this design. Following the event and a series of interviews, several pieces of high-profile coverage were published, focusing on U-Battery’s capability to decarbonise energy intensive industry and the unique reactor design.
A key point of interest for journalists was U-Battery’s capability to support UK and international energy-intensive and extractive industries to switch to low-carbon energy to power their operation. The Economist’s Tim Cross outlined the reactor technology and applicability for heavy and extractive industries. Cross focused on U-Battery’s ability to decarbonise industries, ranging from glass and ceramics to steel, cement and paper manufacturing, or even produce hydrogen for energy storage. Hans van Leeuwen from the Australian Financial Review further pointed to its application to decarbonise extractive industries, potentially in Australia, and was keen to note the reactor’s two-year construction time and attractiveness to Australian investors with a “green bent.”
U-Battery’s simple assembly and construction appealed to local journalist Tom Pegden from the Leicester Mercury, Simone Filippetti of Italy’s Il Sole 23 Ore and Forbes Magazine’s (Austria) Reinhard Keck who all illustrated the reactor design’s “plug and play” ability to be easily assembled, transported and deployed close to the point of use. Pegden and Filippetti additionally noted the historical relationship between Cavendish’s Whetstone site and British innovation in nuclear and other technologies, such as the first jet engines. They were keen to clarify the modular assembly of the reactor, with one adding a moniker to U-Battery’s design as the “Lego reactor."
Masato Kimura, writing for Newsweek (Japan), also positioned U-Battery’s design within the history of nuclear innovation and took a strong interest in the low-complexity, robust safety features derived from the reactor’s modular design and how its capability to be sited close to the point of use can lead to cost reductions for users, through the localised delivery of high-heats. Tim Stickings, from the UAE’s The National, zeroed in on the safety aspects of U-Battery, noting that the reactor design does not rely on complex “layers of safety systems,” but instead the use of TRISO fuel provides inherent safety, and he echoed Kimura’s points on cost-reductions for users.
We were delighted in the keen interest from UK and international journalists on the applicability of U-Battery to support decarbonisation in a variety of territories and through several applications, including heavy and extractive industry and, potentially, low-carbon hydrogen production.
U-Battery is an advanced/small modular reactor, capable of providing a low-carbon, cost-effective, locally embedded and reliable source of power and heat for energy intensive industry and remote locations. It is being developed by Urenco in collaboration with a number of supporting organisations and has received funding from the UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy's Energy Innovation Portfolio.