Rolls-Royce unveils six potential UK sites for nuclear reactors to power million homes

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As part of its efforts to end the global fossil fuel energy crisis, the UK has invested in the development of radical new technologies that could one day slash bills and make the UK energy self-sufficient. One such project is Rolls-Royce’s small modular reactors (SMRs), which are expected to be built much faster and cheaper than conventional nuclear reactors. The Government is looking to build 16 of these within the next 25 years, which could help the UK hit its net-zero target by 2050.

At 470MW, the Rolls-Royce reactors are much larger than other SMRs that cap at 300MW, but much smaller than 3,260 MW that Hinkley Point C, a conventional nuclear reactor, is set to generate.

According to Rolls Royce, each of these reactors produces enough energy to power one million homes, or a city the size of Leeds.

They will be built in a factory production line and assembled at existing sites.

Now, the company has unveiled six potential factory locations, which are: Richmond in North Yorkshire, Deeside in Wales, Ferrybridge, Stallingborough in Lincolnshire, Sunderland and Carlisle.

Two more factories would then follow.

Earlier this year, the engineering giant announced a competition, asking development bodies to bid for the initial site for the small modular reactors’ (SMR) construction, pledging an investment of some £200million as well as the creation of more than 200 skilled jobs.

The Rolls-Royce SMR chief executive, Tom Samson, said: “I would like to thank everyone who sent in a submission suggesting locations in their region for the first Rolls-Royce SMR factory.

“The response was fantastic and shows the ambition and appetite of the UK to build and operate a fleet of SMRs which will provide affordable, low-carbon electricity for generations to come.

“The final location will come from the shortlist and will result in significant investment, long-term high-skilled jobs and will support the UK Government’s aspirations for levelling-up.

“Today’s announcement is another example of the pace of our project and why Rolls-Royce SMR is the UK’s domestic nuclear energy champion.”

At an expected cost of about £2billion for each reactor, Rolls Royce’s SMRs are expected to cost far less than the £25billion that’s currently being spent building the upcoming Hinkley Point C.

While other SMRs are being developed all around the world, Rolls-Royce believes that its larger design and experience set the company apart from the rest.

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Speaking to, Dan Gould, Head of Communications at Rolls-Royce SMR previously said: “Rolls-Royce SMR’s nuclear power station design is based on well-established and understood Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR) technology – currently, there are hundreds of these kinds of reactors operating around the world (Sizewell B in Suffolk and the Hinkley Point C station currently under construction are both PWR reactors).

”We have a deep knowledge and experience of designing and manufacturing nuclear reactor technology from six decades of experience with the UK submarine fleet – no other SMR company in the world today possesses such depth of nuclear reactor design, manufacturing or technology experience.”

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