Rolls-Royce SMR has announced a list of potential locations for its first factory. This is the first of three factories and will manufacture the ‘heavy vessels’ for its Small Modular Reactor (SMR) power station. This is the largest and most complex facility, therefore it is important to take decisions early to enable its deployment, Rolls Royce said. Construction will begin once Rolls-Royce SMR receives the go-ahead to build a fleet of SMRs in the UK.
The shortlist was selected against a clear set of criteria, picked from over 100 submissions from Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and development agencies suggesting sites across the UK where the factories could be located.
The locations of the final shortlisted sites are: North East, Richmond in North Yorkshire, Deeside in Wales, Ferrybridge in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Carlisle.
Rolls-Royce SMR CEO Tom Samson, said: “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.”
Rolls-Royce SMR said its approach is a completely different way of building nuclear power stations, with 90% of the Rolls-Royce SMR built in factory conditions significantly reducing the timescales and project risk.
The other two factories will manufacture civils modules and mechanical electrical and plumbing (MEP) modules – which will be transported to sites and assembled into a nuclear power station that will generate 470MWe. These locations will be selected from the full list of submissions – giving all locations further opportunities to host a Rolls-Royce SMR factory.
Secretary of State for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy Kwasi Kwarteng said: ““Backed by GBP210 million, SMRs have the potential to provide quicker and cheaper low-carbon nuclear power, and today’s announcement underlines the potential for new jobs around the country created by embracing this new technology.”
The Rolls-Royce SMR design was accepted for Generic Design Assessment review in March.
Rolls-Royce SMR is expecting to receive UK regulatory approval for its SMR by mid-2024 with a view to powering up by 2029.
A Rolls-Royce-led UK SMR consortium aims to build 16 SMRs. The consortium - which includes Assystem, Atkins, BAM Nuttall, Jacobs, Laing O'Rourke, National Nuclear Laboratory, the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and TWI - expects to complete its first unit in the early 2030s and build up to 10 by 2035.
To minimise the construction phase of the programme, the UK SMR is fully modularised with the reactor, about 16 by 4 metres, able to be transported by road, rail or sea. Targeting a 500-day modular build, the consortium says this concept minimises the onsite time and effort required to construct and build the plant.
Image: Artists impression of a plant based on the Rolls-Royce SMR (photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce SMR)