Amec Foster Wheeler is set to lead a programme to develop small modular reactors in the UK

Courtney Goldsmith
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Amec Foster Wheeler will work with partners and sub-contractors from industry, academia and science (Source: Getty)

Amec Foster Wheeler has been awarded a £2.9m contract from the government to head up a key nuclear research programme as the UK works to lead development of small modular reactors (SMRs).

The engineering firm will work to enhance the techniques used to design reactors and optimise their performance through a new UK Digital Reactor Design partnership with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Beis).

Generation IV and small modular reactors could play a vital role in meeting the UK's future energy needs.

Read more: Back baby reactors to drive forward the UK's nuclear: engineers

This partnership aims to improve the way that nuclear design, development and construction programmes are delivered in the UK.

Amec will be supported by partners and sub-contractors from industry, academia and science, including the University of Liverpool’s Virtual Engineering Centre, the Hartree Centre, National Nuclear Laboratory, Rolls-Royce, EDF Energy, the University of Cambridge and Imperial College London.

Eann Patterson, professor at the University of Liverpool and lead academic for the project, said:

We see the Digital Reactor Design programme as the first stage in transforming the way that the UK Nuclear industry will design and build new facilities and strengthen capabilities across the sector for the future.

Clive White, president of Amec Foster Wheeler Clean Energy, said the company's objective is to enhance reactor design capability and help play a crucial role in meeting the UK's energy security needs.

"Partnering with leading UK organisations in the nuclear industry will have a big part to play in helping deliver on our department’s big initiatives," added Richard Harrington, energy minister at Beis.

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