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Funding competition SBRI: nuclear advanced modular reactors, feasibility and development

Organisations can apply for a share of up to £4 million to develop feasibility projects for nuclear advanced modular reactors. Up to £40 million of further funding may be available for development, subject to government approval.

This competition is now closed.

Register and apply online

Summary

Description

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is to invest up to £44 million (excluding VAT) to establish an advanced modular reactor (AMR) feasibility and development programme.

For this competition AMRs are defined as a broad group of advanced nuclear reactors. AMRs differ from conventional reactors, which use pressurised or boiling water for primary cooling. They aim to maximise the amount of off-site factory fabrication and can target:

  • generating low cost electricity
  • increased flexibility in delivering electricity to the grid
  • increased functionality, such as the provision of heat output for domestic or industrial purposes, or facilitating the production of hydrogen
  • alternative applications that may generate additional revenue or economic growth

This competition has 2 phases:

  • phase 1: funding (up to £4 million, excluding VAT) to undertake a series of feasibility studies for AMR designs. Contracts are worth up to £300,000 (excluding VAT) and will last up to 8 months
  • phase 2: subject to government approval, a share of up to £40 million (excluding VAT) could be available for selected projects from phase 1 toundertake development activities

You must apply into phase 1 to be considered for phase 2 funding.

Funding type

Procurement

Project size

Phase 1 total project costs can be up to £300,000 (excluding VAT).

Eligibility

Find out if you are eligible to apply

Lead organisations should have experience in nuclear reactor technologies, however all applicants are encouraged to work with innovative organisations from inside and outside the nuclear sector. We particularly encourage technology transfer.

Your project should create partnerships that can help to develop an innovative supply chain of the future.

Only successful projects selected from phase 1 will be considered for phase 2 funding. Phase 2 will not be subject to a separate invitation to tender. If you are successful in proceeding to phase 2, your employees and contractors working on the project will be subject to personnel security checks.

You can only make one application as a lead organisation in this competition.

If your application is unsuccessful, you can make a maximum of one resubmission of the proposal into any future relevant Innovate UK competition.

Projects that we won’t fund

In this competition we will not fund projects that cannot:

  • meet the specification requirements of the competition
  • meet the requirements of the invitation to tender document, which will be made available once you apply

All proposals will be considered on national security grounds.

Funding and project details

BEIS has allocated a total of up to £4 million (excluding VAT) for phase 1. Individual phase 1 proposals can request up to £300,000 (excluding VAT) to fund feasibility study projects.

Projects will receive 100% funding from BEIS.

You will keep the intellectual property rights (IPR) generated from the project, subject to the terms and conditions of the contract.

BEIS will aim to award at least one phase 1 contract to proposals in each of the primary application areas. This will ensure that, subject to quality and budget, BEIS funds an adequate range of projects to cover the objectives, themes and scope of the competition.

Project types

In phase 1, we are particularly looking for feasibility projects for technologies that:

  • are innovative and collaborative
  • encourage technology transfer from other sectors
  • have elements of international collaboration

We are specifically looking for projects that focus on one or more of the primary application areas described in the ‘Scope’ tab.

BEIS will aim to award one or more contracts from phase 1 to designs in each of the primary application areas.

Scope

Competition scope

In phase 1 you will develop a feasibility study for your selected design of advanced modular reactor, including:

  • a design specific evidence base
  • a business proposition and delivery model
  • cost data and cost reduction strategy
  • a research and development plan for how your proposed design will be commercially deployed
  • a detailed proposal for high priority applied research that you will do during phase 2, if you are successful in phase 1

In addition, you will need to submit a report (as a standalone annexe to the main feasibility report) summarising the technology’s main safety, security and environmental features. This report will be reviewed by the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency (the regulators), who will provide feedback.

To be successful you must also:

  • make sure the regulators have a clear understanding of your proposed design. This may require additional discussion with the regulators
  • meet regularly with the government’s appointed representatives to provide updates on progress and to provide information on approach and methodologies.

Specific competition themes

We are looking for projects that focus on at least one of the primary application areas, which are:

  • low cost electricity generation
  • increased flexibility in providing electricity for example with load following
  • increased functionality, such as the provision of heat output for domestic or industrial purposes or facilitating the production of hydrogen
  • alternative applications that may generate additional revenue or support economic growth, such as radioisotope production

Dates

7 December 2017
Competition opens
12 December 2017
Applicant briefing event in London or online
7 February 2018 12:00pm
Registration closes
14 February 2018 12:00pm
Competition closes
30 March 2018
Applicants notified

How to apply

Before you start

Read the general guidance for applicants carefully before you apply. It will help your chances of submitting a quality application.

To apply:

  • register online
  • read the guidance for applicants
  • read the invitation to tender during the application process
  • attend the briefing event if possible
  • complete and upload your application on our secure server

We will not accept late submissions. Your application is confidential.

A panel of selected experts will assess the quality of your application. We will then choose the best proposals to take forward to phase 1 from those that meet the objectives of this competition. All proposals will be considered on technical, regulatory and national security grounds.

We will then select the projects to fund, building a portfolio of projects that:

  • are high quality
  • address the range of themes as described in the scope
  • represent the potential for return on investment for the company and the UK

We reserve the right to:

  • manage the portfolio to achieve the correct balance of projects and funding
  • invite applicants to attend an interview
  • request that projects consider working together where there are clear benefits for the outcome of the competition and the applicants
  • award no contracts if applications are of insufficient quality or fail to meet the scope of the competition
Please use Microsoft Word where possible. If you are completing your application using Google Docs or any other open source software, this can be incompatible with the application form and your application will not be eligible. If you have difficulties with your application form, please contact us.

Guidance for applicants

Supporting information

Background and further information

The government believes that nuclear energy could be important for the UK’s future energy mix. To do that, nuclear energy needs to be cost competitive with other forms of low carbon energy, or provide additional benefits and functionality.

The government wants to explore a mixed range of reactor types in the advanced modular reactor market, with different design characteristics and energy system demands.

BEIS has developed the AMR Feasibility and Development research initiative. This will explore the potential for UK involvement in the commercialisation of AMRs for deployment in the UK and abroad. The goal is to determine how emerging nuclear technologies can meet long term energy and economic policy objectives by:

  • helping to ensure that the UK has secure, long-term energy supplies that are reliable, affordable and clean
  • creating opportunities for UK companies
  • securing high value content in leading designs
  • developing UK manufacturing bases and delivering highly skilled jobs
  • ensuring the UK remains at the leading edge of science, research and innovation in AMR technologies
  • tackling climate change by helping to commercialise important, reliable and economic low carbon technologies
By the end of phase 1 of this competition BEIS aims to have:

  • created a robust set of criteria for assessing AMRs
  • identified the main technical challenges and barriers to deployment
  • developed an understanding of the technical feasibility, timelines, energy system benefits and main risks of developing and deploying AMR designs in the UK
  • identified opportunities for the UK supply chain in developing AMRs, either in the UK or overseas
  • identified opportunities for working with international partners
  • confirmed its projections for the resources required to commercialise designs
  • written a business case describing the further research and development needed to overcome high priority technical challenges and barriers to the deployment of AMRs. This will form phase 2 of the AMR Feasibility and Development research programme

About SBRI competitions

SBRI provides innovative solutions to challenges faced by the public sector. This can lead to better public services and improved efficiency and effectiveness. SBRI supports economic growth and enables the development of innovative products and services. It does this through the public procurement of research and development (R&D). SBRI generates new business opportunities for companies and provides a route to market for their ideas. It also bridges the seed funding gap experienced by many early-stage companies.

Applications must have at least 50% of the contract value attributed directly and exclusively for R&D services. R&D can cover solution exploration and design. It can also include prototyping and field-testing the product or service. R&D does not include:

  • commercial development activities such as quantity production
  • supply to establish commercial viability or to recover R&D costs

If you want help to find a project partner, contact the Knowledge Transfer Network.

If you need more information, contact the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357 or email us at support@innovateuk.gov.uk

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