20 March 2023
U-Battery has been a long-running project with the aim of bringing an advanced modular reactor, specifically a high-temperature gas-cooled reactor, to market.
The intended purpose of U-Battery’s AMR is to service the needs of energy intensive industries; an often-overlooked area of our economy which has a need to urgently decarbonise.
Since 2009, when the conceptual design was developed by the Universities of Manchester (UK) and Delft (Netherlands), U-Battery has evolved from a feasibility study to a serious design with a strong technical understanding and basis.
Urenco has announced its intention to withdraw from the project due to necessary reprioritisation under its strategy. The U-Battery team has completed our current programme of work under the AMR RD&D programme, and after dialogue and consultation with the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, and with other stakeholders, Urenco’s intention is to preserve the public investment in U-Battery by transferring its intellectual property to the National Nuclear Laboratory, subject to necessary due diligence and governance approvals.
Our work to date has set and defined the technology’s core characteristics, operational parameters, and future decommissioning plans and all to achieve the highest levels of safety.
Additionally, we are proud to have created a full-size model of the reactor pressure vessel, the intermediate heat exchanger vessel and the connecting duct. This demonstrated how the AMR can be built using modular techniques, making it easy to construct and to transport.
Steve Threlfall, General Manager of U-Battery, said: “I am proud of the progress the U-Battery team has made; from a conceptual design on paper to building a real-world component as part of the AMR competition. As such I would like to thank the U-Battery team, and those who have supported the project from Urenco, for their hard work and dedication over the years.”
Chris Chater, Chief Technology Officer, said: “While recent events have required Urenco to refocus its priorities, we continue to believe in the U-Battery design which could provide an innovative decarbonisation solution for hard to abate sectors.
“As such, we plan to support AMR and SMR designs like U-Battery in the future through fuel development, which we are investing in as part of our business strategy.”
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.