Rolls-Royce encourages regions to bid on small modular reactor manufacturing site

Tuesday, January 25, 2022 1:48 p.m.

Aero-engine maker Rolls-Royce has now issued a tender for areas of England and Wales to be the location of its main factory to build a planned fleet of small modular jet engines (SMRs).

The Rolls-Royce-led industry consortium has written to several English regional development bodies and the Welsh government asking them to present the manufacturing site, promising an investment of up to £200m and the creation of up to 200 jobs direct.

AM City understands the site would require six acres of space and cost between £100m and £200m to build.

The manufacturing center would build the reactors, which would then be transported by road for development at the main site.

Rolls-Royce initially hopes to build four mini-reactors which could be operational by the end of the decade and boost the UK’s nuclear ambitions, with the power source a key part of the UK’s net zero carbon emissions plans. country.

The four SMRs will be capable of generating almost 500 megawatts of electricity, priced at £2bn each, three times more than most existing underwater nuclear reactors, but six times less than the 3.2 gigawatts which feed the large power station under construction at Hinkley. Point or identical site proposed at Sizewell C.

Rolls-Royce’s plans are the first step in its ambitions to develop a fleet of mini-reactors with government support and private sector funding.

The group secured £210million in public money last year following Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng’s overhaul of the UK’s nuclear strategy last year to build its first set of reactors on a site in England or Wales.

This will go hand in hand with £280m privately raised, with each mini reactor costing £2bn each to build.

Rolls-Royce hopes its plans could revitalize the UK’s declining nuclear base, with several national sites set to close over the next two decades.

Nuclear power is currently responsible for 21% of Britain’s electricity supply, but the government wants to increase its presence in the energy mix with two new identical sites at Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C.

However, with the closure of several sites over the next two decades, SMRs became an attractive additional option for the government.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has backed small modular reactors as part of his 10-point plan for a ‘green industrial revolution’.

The technology is seen by the government as a good way to create jobs in the manufacturing sector as well as implementing Johnson’s “upgrading” program to help less developed regions.

Commenting on the plans, a Rolls-Royce spokesperson said: “The development and growth of a nuclear manufacturing base in the UK is central to Rolls-Royce’s SMR deployment. So we started a process to identify a site for the first major plant facility, the high pressure vessel plant.

Outlining the next steps, they added: “We look forward to working with LEP and the Welsh Government to identify potential sites, an important step in achieving our commitment to 80% UK content for the Rolls-Royce rollout. SMR in the UK.