UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) has selected US-based technical services provider Jacobs for the development of a new type of nuclear power plant.

NNL and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency are jointly working on a new reactor design for the UK market, focusing on the production of high-temperature heat for industrial applications.

Jacobs, as NNL’s multi-discipline design consultant, will review the initial designs and delivery plans for the proposed new high-temperature gas reactor.

Jacobs vice president Andy White said: “We will deploy our deep experience and knowledge of nuclear reactor technology to help deliver a power plant with the potential to contribute to one of the most challenging aspects of energy transition – the decarbonization of heavy industry such as steel and cement production.”

NNL VP for Government and New Build Emma Vernon said: “This is a groundbreaking project. We are looking forward to working together on the development of the UKJ-HTR design, through this phase of the DESNZ competition, which will help the UK industry to adapt to a changing world and take a step closer to achieving our net-zero goals.”

Jacobs will support the development of cost and schedule estimates as part of a broader investment case submission to HM Treasury, and support engagement with UK regulators.

The company will also review market demand and end-use cases for HTGR technology and carry out a detailed engineering design review to ensure regulatory compliance.

UK’s Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) is funding the research and development work on the advanced modular reactor concept.

The funding is part of a competition to enable the development and demonstration of HTGR technology.

The next phase of the project would comprise detailed design, manufacturing, construction, and commissioning of an HTGR demonstrator, subject to further support from DESNZ.

Last year, Jacobs secured a two-year project management resources (PMR) framework contract from EDF Nuclear Operations, worth more than $53m.