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UK government to invest £18m in Rolls-Royce SMR programme

25/07/2019
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The Rolls-Royce led consortium behind an innovative small modular reactor (SMR) power plant programme is celebrating this week after securing £18m of initial funding from the UK government. The investment will support the development of the UK’s first ‘mini reactor’ which, if successful, could kick start a whole new manufacturing industry for SMRs.
An artist's rendering of what a Rolls-Royce SMR-based mini nuclear power station could look like.
(An artist’s rendering of what a Rolls-Royce SMR-based mini nuclear power station could look like. Image via Rolls-Royce).

The first of these mini nuclear power stations is expected to be up and running in the early 2030s, creating 40,000 jobs at its peak, and producing enough clean energy to power 750,000 homes.

The £18m investment from the UK government forms part of a larger significant joint investment from Rolls-Royce and its partners of more than £500m focused on the design and development of small modular reactors (SMR). The consortium has said it expects to more than match any government funding both by direct investment and by raising funds from third party organisations.

A statement from Rolls-Royce emphasises that SMRs represent both a commercially viable energy generation source, and a potentially massive export opportunity:

“The consortium firmly believes its design, with early Government co-investment, is an attractive commercial proposition which will reduce the need for further public funding of the infrastructure required to create the low carbon power needed for Britain’s future clean growth.”

“By manufacturing the vast majority of the components required for new power stations within state-of-the-art facilities and then combining them on site, the consortium’s modular power plant also represents an ideal export opportunity. There have already been expressions of interest from other countries, reinforcing the consortium’s confidence in the potential scale of the export opportunity, which could be in excess of £250bn.”
Each SMR-based mini nuclear power station could power as many as 750,000 homes
(Each SMR-based mini nuclear power station could power as many as 750,000 homes. Image via Rolls Royce.)

With the design of the SMR having been validated by Sir Mark Walport and his UK Research and Innovation team’s assessment for the Industry Strategy Challenge Fund, Rolls-Royce and its consortium partners seem confident that they’ve created the ideal power generation solution that’s needed for our low-carbon future.

The other partners within the consortium are drawn from the best of British nuclear energy capability, infrastructure project experience and manufacturing technology. The consortium comprises Rolls-Royce, Assystem, SNC Lavalin/Atkins, Wood, Arup, Laing O’Rourke, BAM Nuttall, Siemens, National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) and Nuclear AMRC.

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UK government to invest £18m in Rolls-Royce SMR programme - Time to read 3 min
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