Rolls-Royce SMR prioritises four NDA sites for new nuclear

10 November 2022

Rolls-Royce SMR, supported by the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), has completed a siting assessment review into potential options for deploying Rolls-Royce SMR power stations.

This is the first phase in a programme of work which is considering siting, collaboration opportunities and the socio-economic benefits of deploying Rolls-Royce SMR units on land within the NDA estate, as well as at other locations across the UK.

The work is consistent with NDA’s mission to clean up the UK’s legacy nuclear sites safely, securely and cost-effectively and to release them for other uses.

It follows the announcement earlier this year from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) that NDA would work alongside interested parties, including Rolls-Royce SMR, to enable engagement on potential future nuclear developments on its sites.

Within the NDA estate there is land with the potential to host the UK’s next generation of nuclear power stations. The study has identified a range of sites that could host several GWe of Rolls-Royce SMRs, prioritising four NDA sites.

Rolls-Royce SMR has identified four potential land parcels - two are within the control of the NDA (land at Trawsfynydd and land neighbouring the Sellafield site) - with two others on NDA land leased to a third party (Wylfa and Oldbury). Any formal commitment of NDA land, or other support, would require government approval via NDA’s sponsoring department, BEIS.

Rolls-Royce SMR matched the sites against a set of assessment criteria that will enable stations to be operational by the early 2030s, including: existing geotechnical data, adequate grid connection and a site large enough to deploy multiple SMRs.

Rolls-Royce SMR CEO Tom Samson said he was grateful to David Peattie and the NDA team for their work in helping inform our understanding of the significant opportunity to bring new nuclear power back to nuclear communities across England and Wales.

“Identifying the sites that can host our SMRs is a key step to our efficient deployment – the sooner that work can begin at site, the sooner we can deliver stable, secure supplies of low-carbon nuclear power from SMRs designed and built in the UK. We must maintain this positive momentum and work with NDA and Government departments, to ensure we capitalise on the range of siting options, focusing on those that maximise benefit to the taxpayer while enabling power to come online as close to 2030 as possible.”

NDA CEO David Peattiesaid the study is “a tangible step forward in our mission to safely decommission our sites and free up land for future use”. He added: “We’re engaging with several potential partners to explore the use of land in our estate whilst utilising the NDA’s nuclear sector expertise to support the delivery of the UK Government’s energy security strategy.”

Minister of State for Climate, Graham Stuart, said: “This work to identify potential sites for the first generation of small modular reactors is a positive step. These places not only have a strong historical connection with the industry, but also communities with the skills to benefit from the well-paid jobs that could be created.”

The Rolls-Royce SMR power plant will have the capacity to generate 470MWe and will provide consistent baseload generation for at least 60 years. Rolls-Royce SMR has assessed the potential to deploy multiple units at the following sites – equivalent to 15GWe.

  • Trawsfynydd (requires agreement with NDA and Cwmni Egino – Welsh Government, Rolls-Royce SMR is engaged in the market engagement exercise, alongside other interested parties)
  • Sellafield (NDA land availability to be confirmed)
  • Wylfa - South (requires agreement with Horizon Nuclear Power)
  • Oldbury - North (requires agreement with Horizon Nuclear Power)

Potential sites requiring further investigation include:

  • Berkeley: 4-6 SMR potential (requires agreement with the Berkeley Estate)
  • Hartlepool NPP - 2 SMR potential (requires agreement with EDF Energy)
  • Heysham NPP - 3 SMR potential (requires agreement with EDF Energy)
  • Bradwell - North / East: 4-6 SMR potential (requires agreement with CGN and EDF energy)

Image: Oldbury near Bristol is one of the prioritised sites (courtesy of Rolls-Royce)

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