Policy environment for small modular reactors
News 25th January 2022
Professor Jeremy Rayner of the University of Saskatchewan has joined The University of Manchester’s Dalton Nuclear Institute for four months, from January until April 2022, as a visiting Research Fellow.
Professor Jeremy Rayner is Director of the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Saskatchewan and a leading international figure in nuclear policy research. His work focuses on theories of the policy process, particularly policy learning and policy change, as well as policy analysis, governance, and resource, energy and environmental policy.
During his visit, Professor Rayner will undertake research on the policy environment for the development and deployment of small modular reactors (SMRs) in the UK as part of a larger comparative study.
He will also be looking to participate in discussions within The Beam, bringing his knowledge and experience of how the nuclear sector in Canada has engaged with and impacted upon local communities.
Professor Rayner explains: “My project involves a comparison of how Canada and the UK are managing the development and deployment of SMRs, focusing on the mix of policies in place to support development and on public understanding of SMR technologies”
“As the pandemic has once again reminded us, innovation, however brilliant it may seem to scientists and engineers, will often encounter significant public resistance that threatens the achievement of crucial policy goals. This should hardly come as a surprise but, once again, we seem to have been blindsided by the social dimensions of innovation.
“SMRs are currently presented to the public as a solution to the problem of decarbonizing electricity generation, which is certainly an important goal. While policy makers seem to find this argument convincing, what about the public and, even more important, organised interests?”
“The Dalton Nuclear Institute has a distinguished history of encouraging interdisciplinary research on nuclear issues and I’m looking forward to learning about the work that is currently going on here.”
Professor Richard Taylor, BNFL Chair in Nuclear Energy Systems at the Dalton Nuclear Institute and co-founder of The Beam, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Prof Rayner to Manchester and to the Dalton Nuclear Institute. We’re lucky to have such a prominent international figure in nuclear policy research to spend time with us, and this is an ideal opportunity to strengthen existing collaborative ties between our respective organisations.
“In addition to undertaking his independent research on the policy environment for the development and deployment of small modular reactors in the UK, Prof Rayner will be looking to organise a workshop on SMRs and nuclear policy. This is a very topical area in both countries at present and the work will be of direct and immediate relevance to both industry and Government.
“I am sure Prof Rayner’s time here will not just help to further our ambition to lead on interdisciplinary research in civil nuclear, but will also add to the University’s reach and credibility in this area.”