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Durham University

Durham Energy Institute

Past Events

Find out about some of the previous events held by Durham Energy Institute:

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

9th November 2016, 18:00 to 19:00, Ken Wade Lecture Theatre, Calman Learning Centre, Candida Whitmill, Managing Director, Penultimate Power UK Limited

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.

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