Construction firm will explore opportunities to deploy reactors after signing MoU with nuclear specialists

Kier has signed a memorandum of understanding with two nuclear specialists to work on proposals to build small modular reactors. 

The deal with X-energy and Cavendish Nuclear will see the firm explore opportunities around the deployment of a fleet of Xe-100 Generation IV Advanced Reactors in the UK. 


Source: X-energy

Xe-100 plant

It comes after an award grant to the pair of nuclear businesses from the government’s Future Nuclear Enabling fund.   

The government’s award of £3.34m will be matched by X-energy, providing a total fund of £6.68m.  

The MoU establishes the basis for Kier to carry out a constructability assessment for the Xe-100 in the UK, adopting lessons learnt from studies in the US and Canada.   

Xe-100 is a high-temperature gas-cooled ‘pebble bed’ reactor, designed to have a substantial number of elements prefabricated in factory conditions and transported to site for assembly, allowing for a construction time of three to four years. 

There are plans for around 40 in the UK, each of which can produce 200MW of high temperature heat and steam for industrial applications as well as 80MW of electricity.  

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X-energy and Cavendish Nuclear want to develop a multi-billion pound 12-reactor plant in Hartlepool by the early 2030s 

Andrew Bradshaw, group managing director for Kier Natural Resources, Nuclear & Networks said: “Kier’s purpose is to sustainably deliver infrastructure which is vital to the UK. We have a strong track record of constructing and upgrading nuclear facilities and are committed to using our expertise to enable safe, sustainable and efficient construction while leaving lasting legacies through our work. 

“We’re delighted to be working alongside X-energy and Cavendish Nuclear to develop the UK fleet of reactors which will be vital in supporting the growth of the clean energy market.” 

Kier’s Nuclear business unit is involved in a range of projects throughout the nuclear life cycle, from energy generation to decommissioning and waste storage, including projects at Sellafield in Cumbria, Hinkley Point C in Somerset and Devonport in Plymouth, supporting Babcock and the Royal Navy with infrastructure upgrades on dry docks which house nuclear submarines.