Do you want your business to be future-proofed?
Any sensible business owner wants to ensure that they do not run out of clients. With the UK’s energy production constantly in our headlines, it is clear that the future of energy production will look very different to what it is now. For the sake of the environment, it is imperative that we reduce carbon emissions, so the burning of fossil fuels has to stop.
So how will this trend affect us running a non-destructive testing company or any other contractor connected with the nuclear industry? We have a look at some of the trends emerging and hazard how they might impact us.
An Answer to the Energy Crisis
The world’s first commercial nuclear reactor was built in the United States in 1951. Since then, many countries around the globe have followed suit, building reactors that produce electricity for homes and businesses. The nuclear power industry has grown tremendously over the years, and today there are hundreds of operating reactors worldwide. There is a growing swell of voices supporting nuclear energy as a way out of our energy crisis.
The UK is planning on building eight new reactor sites. The UK Government sees nuclear energy as a key component in energy production going forward.
For every contractor involved in the nuclear sector, this is going to be good news. There will be engineering, construction, non-destructive testing and other service requirements. Anyone positioned in these areas will only benefit from the increased demand for their services.
The Rise of Small Modular Reactors.
In recent years, small modular reactors (SMRs) have been gaining popularity as an alternative to traditional large reactors. SMRs are smaller than traditional reactors, and they use less fuel. They also generate more energy per unit of volume, making them ideal for remote areas where space is limited.
In the UK, the first SMR may be introduced by 2024. Rolls Royce has already started building parts for their own small modular reactor in anticipation of receiving approval from the UK Government.
Ultimately, if we see the swing from oil and gas energy production towards renewable, energy from waste and nuclear, as seems to be the direction at the moment, new SMRs can only be positive for the NDT industry and other contracted service providers. The country needs more and more energy as our population and needs increase. This will mean more SMRs and high demand for NDT testing to ensure that rigorous health and safety requirements are met.
The Rise of Fusion Energy
There has been much talk recently about fusion energy, with many breakthroughs reported by the press. It is a type of nuclear power that uses hydrogen atoms to fuse together into helium atoms. This process releases massive amounts of energy.
However, there are still some challenges with fusion energy. One challenge is that we need to find ways to contain the reaction safely. Another challenge is that we need a better understanding of how to control the reaction so that we can harness its full potential.
So, for the next decade or so, do not expect to get an enquiry from a fusion energy plant. However, it is worth keeping abreast of all the developments in this area, as it will no doubt be a huge area of growth in the far future.
We Need Nuclear
At this point in time, we need to rely more on nuclear energy if we are to achieve the net-zero carbon emission pledge that we all know our environment desperately needs. This will make the UK more self-sufficient in its energy production, will stimulate the economy, and provide jobs and income for contractors like us. Managed well, nuclear power can help solve our energy crisis and we as service providers to this industry need to ensure our businesses are equipped to handle the demand.