Infrastructure group Balfour Beatty has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Holtec Britain, a subsidiary of equipment and systems supplier Holtec International, and Hyundai Engineering and Construction (HDEC) to support the planning advancement for building Holtec’s SMR-160 pressurised light-water reactors in the UK.

Besides serving as the main construction partner, Balfour Beatty will collaborate with HDEC on the civil construction and installation of the mechanical, electrical and heating, ventilation and cooling systems as well as the equipment required for Holtec International’s SMR-160 reactors.

Holtec International intends to commence the UK regulatory acceptance process of its SMR-160 reactors in 2023.

Once the approval is received, construction of the first UK unit can start in as early as 2028.

The SMR-160 power plant units are expected to play an important role in the delivery of the government’s Energy Security Strategy, targeting 5GW of clean power to the National Grid by 2050.

Balfour Beatty chief executive officer for transport, energy & power major projects Stephen Tarr said: “We look forward to working with Holtec International to drive forward clean energy solutions. Our partnership will build on our long-standing experience and expertise in delivering nuclear projects and will ultimately support the UK’s transition towards a Net Zero future.” 

Holtec International senior vice president of international projects and executive committee member Dr. Richard M. Springman said: “The United Kingdom is at a turning point as it navigates through this energy crisis. The decisions made today will impact how future generations in the UK live and work, and the viability of its economy as a whole.

“I believe it will need multiple, complementary nuclear power plant designs based on proven Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) technology already operating in the United Kingdom to assure carbon-free energy security ten years from now; and we have to start now.”