The top technical officer for Britain’s engineering giant Rolls-Royce said this week that the company would focus on small modular reactors, which he expected would be operational in the UK within nine years.
"Our plan is to get energy on the grid in 2029,” the engineer, Paul Stein, said in a BBC Radio 4 broadcast, Nuclear Engineering International reported.
Stein said he expected as many as 15 – and as few as 10 – SMRs would be online before the end of the decade. The construction sites for his initiative would be already existing nuclear power plant sites, he said, noting two sites in Wales and another in northwest England that would be viable for SMR technology.
Stein also said that the export business for SMR technology could be “huge.”
Britain, with several new full-scale nuclear plant projects planned, is aggressively pursuing SMR technology for its energy needs, as well as hopes that it can establish itself as a central industrial exporter of small modular reactors. A consortium of stakeholders led by Rolls-Royce and including Assystem, Atkins, BAM Nuttall and the country’s national laboratory, among others, is working on the project.
”The consortium members themselves are so convinced that this is a solid business case that we’re putting our own money into it,” said Stein, who also noted that a private equity firm had approached the finance with the intent to buy into SMR advancement.
With cheaper construction costs, the cost of SMR-generation electricity would be highly competitive, he said.
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