Rolls Royce reveals SMR partners

Article by Staff Writer

ROLLS ROYCE is partnering with Amec Foster Wheeler, Nuvia, Arup and the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre to develop small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) in the UK.

Rolls Royce said more partners “will emerge in due course” to help develop the novel reactor technology. It estimates that making SMRs is “a reality in the UK” that will create up to 40,000 jobs for the country and with the associated intellectual property will open a £400bn (US$486bn) export market.

The plan is to create a partnership capable of building plants “from the ground up” and once the initial design is licensed, parts can be made on a factory production line relatively cheaply. Rolls Royce says the partnership sees SMR technology as complementary to larger conventional nuclear plants rather than an alternative option.

SMRs are expected to have outputs of 300 MW or less. The modular nature of the technology means it could be deployed more flexibly, such as providing power for an individual city or industrial complex, and then new modules added as demand grows.

“We are working with some of Britain's most experienced civil engineering companies and nuclear research organisations to realise the huge potential of small modular reactors for the wider UK economy,” a spokesperson told The Chemical Engineer. “We share a common belief that a homegrown SMR programme can play a key role in strengthening the UK’s energy mix and security, while creating valuable intellectual property, exports and jobs. We are working together to deliver a whole power plant which could be up and running in just over a decade and provide a boost for the UK's industrial strategy.”

Speaking at a nuclear summit in London in October last year, Rolls Royce’s director of engineering and technology, John Molyneux, said the company’s SMR offering will be a light-water reactor 'ideally at the higher end of the power levels'.

Rolls Royce says that SMRs will strengthen the UK’s energy security by reducing reliance on foreign gas imports and smoothing out the impact of intermittent forms of power generation.

In 2015, the UK government announced a £250m funding competition for the development of SMRs and in March 2016 launched the first phase of the competition, seeking interest from technology developers. It is now developing an “SMR Roadmap” to summarise the evidence gathered and set out a policy framework to support the development of the technology.

Article by Staff Writer

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