Small modular reactors (SMRs) could be key to the UK’s nuclear future, according to new analysis.

A report issued today by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) said the development of SMRs could offer key post-Brexit export opportunities and return the UK to the global nuclear reactor supply arena.

The report, titled Leaving the EU, the Euratom Treaty Part 2: A Framework for the Future, examined the risks for the country’s nuclear industry posed by Brexit and associated withdrawal from the European nuclear treaty Euratom.  

According to IMechE, the UK should commit to a long-term nuclear R&D strategy that includes a pathway for developing SMRs. This would include following the current £250m ($324m) SMR competition with opportunities for demonstration and commercialization, as well as making the existing Wylfa Newydd licensed nuclear site in Wales available for SMR construction and demonstration.

IMechE’s report also focused on nuclear safety, co-operation agreements and regulation, recommending that the UK develop its own safeguarding office to ensure that it conforms to international rules on safety and non-proliferation. It also recommended that the UK remain an associate member of Euratom for R&D purposes.

The report follows two parliamentary reports released earlier this week warning that the UK’s nuclear policy is in urgent need of review.