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As part of its efforts to end the global fossil fuel energy crisis, the UK has invested heavily in nuclear power, with a goal for nuclear to generate a quarter of its energy supply by 2050. Britain has even invested in the development of new technologies, specifically backing Rolls-Royce’s small nuclear reactors, which are expected to be built much faster and cheaper than conventional nuclear reactors.
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.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Dan Gould, Head of Communications at Rolls-Royce SMR 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.
“The output of our power station is only restricted by our true modular and factory-built approach.”
“470MW (enough to power around a million homes) is the highest output we can achieve and still be able to build the largest components in a factory and transport them on standard road vehicle to site for assembly.”
According to experts, Rolls-Royce’s reactor isn’t strictly an “SMR”, as these tend to have a power capacity of a maximum of 300MW, while theirs is much bigger at 470MW.
While bigger than other SMRs, their reactors will still be far smaller and cheaper than conventional nuclear reactors and can be built much more quickly.
The company has submitted the design to the Government and is pending approval.
According to Mr Gould, Rolls Royce selected the standard Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR) technology, for its “safety, environmental and operational certainty.”
He added: “Rolls-Royce SMR is unique in providing a single ‘turnkey’ contract to deliver a whole factory-built nuclear power plant.
“Unlike large-scale nuclear power plants, each of our plants will not be a unique construction project – it is a repeatable, factory-built ‘product’.”
Rolls-Royce is looking to develop a reactor that can be easily mass-produced in factories, which will make the technology dramatically cheaper and more flexible.
Once the design for the reactor is approved and the factory is up and running, the company expects to produce a reactor every six months, creating 40,000 jobs and over £50billion worth of investment.
In the Prime Minister’s energy security strategy that was unveiled earlier this year, the Government announced that it is investing £210million to help develop the innovative new technology, which is said to be much cheaper and easier to deploy than traditional nuclear power stations.
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