Rolls-Royce mobilizes to save Britain and cripple Putin’s energy grip: “We are ready” | Science | News

The Prime Minister met nuclear giants on Monday to discuss how the UK can bolster its energy security amid Putin’s war with Ukraine. Rolls-Royce, one of the industry figures present at Mr Johnson’s meeting, told Express.co.uk it had a key role to play in helping Britain speed up the rollout of clean energy source.

Tom Samson, CEO of Rolls-Royce, said: “I was delighted to speak with the Prime Minister about the potential for Rolls-Royce SMR Ltd – the UK’s national champion of nuclear technology – to help provide customers a secure supply of low-cost energy, in line with the future energy security strategy.

“We are ready to deliver in the UK and overseas, working in parallel on siting and financing to ensure Rolls-Royce SMR power is online as close to 2030 as possible.”

It comes as Britain pledged to sever energy ties with Putin, with Mr Johnson pledging to phase out Russian oil imports by the end of the year.

Mr Johnson has suggested the West could end its ‘dependence’ on Putin’s hydrocarbons by bolstering its energy independence, with a plan for Britain to get up to 25% of its electricity from nuclear power .

And Rolls-Royce can help with its Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), which are about the size of two football pitches but can power around half a million homes, equivalent to a city the size of Leeds.

Traditional nuclear energy has a series of major drawbacks such as the cost and the time it takes to build them.

But SMRs are cheaper and easier to deploy than regular nuclear power, so it’s no surprise that the technology has attracted interest from a number of states.

Rolls-Royce has already secured a £500m injection to help develop the technology.

Funding came from Qatar, owners of French oil giant Perenco, US company Exelon Generation and a £210m government contribution.

The plan to bring the technology to market moved forward after Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng called on government regulators to assess product designs.

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“We are ready to deliver in the UK and overseas, working in parallel on siting and financing to ensure Rolls-Royce SMR power is online as close to 2030 as possible.”

It comes as Britain pledged to sever energy ties with Putin, with Mr Johnson pledging to phase out Russian oil imports by the end of the year.

Mr Johnson has suggested the West could end its ‘dependence’ on Putin’s hydrocarbons by bolstering its energy independence, with a plan for Britain to get up to 25% of its electricity from nuclear power .

And Rolls-Royce can help with its Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), which are about the size of two football pitches but can power around half a million homes, equivalent to a city the size of Leeds.

Traditional nuclear energy has a series of major drawbacks such as the cost and the time it takes to build them.

The company hopes to develop a reactor that can be mostly factory-made, mass-producing them to help significantly reduce development costs and make innovations cheaper and more flexible.

SMRs are now about to begin the Generic Design Assessment process, which Kwarteng called “an important step in establishing SMRs”.

He added: “We are proud to support Rolls’ plan with an initial £210million to develop their design.”

It comes after the government was criticized for the slow rollout of nuclear projects, when several key projects have already been halted or will soon be scrapped.

Hunterston B in Scotland closed earlier this year, while Hinkley Point B in Somerset is expected to close later this year.

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But Mr Johnson’s meeting with leaders of major nuclear utilities and technology companies on Monday, which also included EDF in France, and Westinghouse and Bechtel in the United States, was aimed at addressing that issue.

Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA), said: “Accelerating nuclear projects is absolutely essential to lowering energy costs, reducing costly gas imports and bolstering our energy security as we move towards net zero.

“This means urgently investing in a fleet of large and small nuclear power plants, alongside investments in renewables, to provide the clean, sovereign power we need.”

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