The Low Cost Nuclear programme phase two is a research and development programme to further develop the UK small modular reactor power station concept to successfully pass the key regulatory milestone of Generic Design Assessment (GDA) Step two completion by 31 March 2025. It is led by Rolls-Royce SMR Ltd. with UKRI as delivery partner overseeing programme management on behalf of the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero, who are accountable for the project.
The funding recipient, Rolls-Royce SMR Ltd, aims to develop a compact, standardised nuclear power station product based around a UK-designed small modular reactor (SMR), using modern mass production methodology.
The low cost nuclear (LCN) programme was set up to deliver five objectives by March 2025:
- objective 1: to have fully completed step 2 Generic Design Assessment (GDA) by the end of the programme (March 2025)
- objective 2: to have developed, the SMR technical design and cost models to help with the investment proposition
- objective 3: to identify the supply chain and manufacturing strategy required by the Rolls-Royce SMR design and increase potential deliverability of any ‘fleet deployment’
- objective 4: to promote greater equality and diversity in the UK nuclear sector over the lifetime of the programme
- objective 5:
- to utilise information generated by the LCN programme to support Department of Energy Security and Net Zero-led communications and engagement work on the awareness and public acceptance of nuclear energy
- to track the communications impact of LCN
- to provide detailed information on the project to inform government policy on SMRs
This challenge aligns with the Nuclear Sector Deal and UK government’s Advanced Nuclear Technologies framework, which can provide the supporting policy framework for encouraging new nuclear technologies.