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Rolls Royce announce plans to build 16 mini-nuclear plants in the UK

Jamal Niaz morson news

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Rolls Royce has announced plans to build 16 mini nuclear power plants.

The project is expected to create up to 6,000 new jobs in the Midlands and the North of England in the next five years, with the government being understood to be preparing to commit £200m as part of its green economic recovery spending plan. The plans come at an important time with six of the UK’s seven nuclear reactor sites due to go offline by 2030 and the remaining one due to be decommissioned by 2030.

Rolls Royce lead the consortium undertaking the plans, which include the National Nuclear Laboratory and Laing O’Rourke. It is believed that the small modular reactor (SMR) nuclear power stations would position the UK to secure exports of at least £250bn and that they would revitalise the country’s regional industrial base.

Tom Samson, interim Chief Executive Officer of the UK SMR Consortium, said:

“By creating a factory-built power station that rolls off the assembly line we have radically reduced many construction risks associated with new nuclear power stations; and by using proven nuclear technology alongside standardised and simplified components, we make it much more cheaply. Our consortium combines decades of nuclear experience and pioneering world-class manufacturing expertise. We represent the strength that UK industry has to offer in our fight against climate change.”

The government believes that new nuclear is essential if the UK is to meet its target of reaching net zero emissions by 2050, much like the recently announced offshore wind power generation plans.

Rolls Royce think that constructing a series of smaller nuclear plants from modules made in factories as opposed to building huge nuclear projects is the most efficient and cost-effective method going forwards.

Costing around £2billion per unit, each plant would produce 440 megawatts of electricity - roughly enough to power Sheffield.

The consortium believes the first of these modular plants could be up and running in 10 years, after that they are looking to build and install two a year.

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