ULC-Energy believes nuclear energy can and must play a meaningful role in the future energy system of the Netherlands. It is the only proven scalable source of clean dispatchable power and heat. Nuclear energy can be integrated efficiently in public energy systems like the power grid or public heat networks but also as a dedicated energy source for industrial demand. ULC-Energy’s primary objective is to deliver a highly reliable platform for affordable, CO2-free, dispatchable production capacity as soon as possible.
ULC-Energy will only consider proven technology for commercial deployment. The vast majority of nuclear reactors in operation today are light water reactors (LWR)  . Although the primary design of modern LWRs has not materially changed, designs have been improved since reactors first entered operation, leveraging experiences over the last 70+ years and incorporating the scientific advances specifically in nuclear physics, modelling, control systems and fuel efficiencies.
Fuel design and the associated licensing process is a major element of any nuclear design concept. ULC-Energy is committed to consider designs that accommodate standard fuel assemblies that are readily and commercially available and safely applied in reactors worldwide today. As improved fuel designs become available ULC-Energy will consider the appropriateness of these designs.
 Currently there are 359 light water reactors in operation with a generation capacity of 330 GW
Nuclear plants are traditionally constructed largely on site, requiring many specialist workers to perform duties simultaneously in the field resulting in complex interdependent build schedules and significant local support resources. It has typically not been able to leverage the experience and capabilities of centralised manufacturing.
Industrial manufacturing developed rapidly in the 19th century with the advent of steam engines, resulting in a period of significant economic transition to a factory centric economic model. Although steam powered factories have since been replaced by automated and roboticized production lines, centralised manufacturing is at the core of many industrial supply chains.
ULC-Energy believes that a controlled factory environment with a rigorous focus on optimisation of the manufacturing process in terms of safety, quality, volume and cost will enable a competitive and reliable product offering. ULC-Energy will prioritise solutions that have a high degree of off-site pre-fabricated modules.
Incorporate Past Learnings
Nuclear reactors are complex machines and need to be built to tight specifications. History has several examples where the construction process of nuclear plants has been challenging. It is important to consider past lessons for any new build process.
Where nuclear construction projects have been particularly successful is where reactors have been part of a program of multiple units that are built to a standard of very similar design. Establishing the ability to deliver consistently and repetitively has proven the best way to de-risk the build process.
Given the relative size of the Netherlands, ULC-Energy believes a successful delivery model should focus on a standard design that is being adopted in at least one other country as well as the Netherlands. This would mean that any units built in the Netherlands will benefit from being part of an international build program of multiple units.
Economics of scale have led the nuclear industry to consistently increase the size of nuclear power plants and traditionally the lowest cost per MW output is achieved by maximizing size.
However smaller reactors can deliver some distinct benefits. They can accommodate a higher degree of modular construction, allowing factory manufacturing processes to deliver material efficiencies. Smaller reactors are more easily integrated in existing power grids and multiple smaller reactors of a similar total capacity deliver a superior energy solution to a single large unit. Lastly smaller reactors have lower total costs, making the financing task more manageable.
In the Netherlands our ability to deliver large complex projects on time and on schedule has diminished over time. As a result, contractors are placing financial caps on project contracts and developers will need to fully manage risks of delay and cost overrun. The increased development risk and financing requirements of large nuclear developments mean that these projects can only be delivered with significant support from governments.
ULC-Energy believes the optimal size of a reactor is not necessarily the largest nor is it the smallest. ULC-Energy will develop commercial projects that are optimized for deliverability, compatibility, reliability, efficiency, and economics and that can be realized with minimal support from Government.