Rolls-Royce Secures £ 450 Million for Mini Nuclear Reactor Company | Energy industry


Rolls-Royce will go ahead with a multibillion pound plan to deploy a new generation of mini nuclear reactors after securing more than £ 450million from the government and investors.

The engineering company will set up a business focused on developing small modular nuclear reactors, or SMRs, in partnership with investors BNF Resources and US generator Exelon Generation with a joint investment of £ 195million to fund plans over the course of the next three years.

The government will match the investment of the consortium, which is expected to receive a £ 50million second phase from Rolls-Royce, with £ 210million to help deploy the mini nuclear reactors as part of the country’s 10-point green plan. government to launch the green economy over the next decade.

Ministers hope the new generation of SMRs will be faster and cheaper to deploy than traditional large-scale nuclear reactors – such as the 3,200-megawatt Hinkley Point C project – which face enormous construction risks and are subject to increasing costs and delays.

The Hinkley Point C reactor was initially set to cost £ 18bn, but that figure climbed to around £ 23bn at the Somerset site as EDF and ministers struggled to agree on a new framework in funding for a successor project to Sizewell C in Suffolk.

Rolls-Royce has pledged to “harness decades of British engineering, design and manufacturing know-how” to deploy its first of its mini-reactors based on technology similar to that used to power sub- nuclear sailors.

Each of the reactors in the initial series is expected to have a generating capacity of 470 MW, enough to power the equivalent of 1.3 million UK homes, and cost around £ 2 billion on average, well below the price per MW sought after by nuclear reactor developers.

About a fifth of the UK’s electricity is produced by 13 nuclear reactors, but more than half of the country’s 7.8 GW of nuclear capacity is expected to be phased out by 2025, leaving a looming gap in fuel supply. electricity and the risk of growing dependence on gas energy. stations.

Tom Samson, managing director of the Rolls-Royce SMR consortium, said the company was set up to “provide a low-cost, deployable, scalable and investable program of new nuclear power plants” to help the UK meet its targets net zero.

Samson added that the approach would be based on “predictable factory-made components” and proven technology to create an “investable” nuclear option.

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Ultimately, the consortium hopes to build on an initial round of five SMRs, the first of which could be commissioned by 2031, to create a multibillion-pound 16 SMR stable across the country.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng described the move to SMR as “a unique opportunity for the UK to deploy more low carbon energy than ever before and ensure greater energy independence”.

He added that the SMR program “will provide exciting opportunities to cut costs and build faster”, and help reduce the UK’s dependence on fossil fuels while creating jobs and a new local industry.

“Not only can we maximize British content, create new intellectual property and revitalize supply chains, but also position our country as a world leader in innovative nuclear technologies that we can potentially export elsewhere,” he said. he declares.

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