Rolls-Royce to build Small Modular Reactors in UK

Rolls-Royce plans to build small modular nuclear reactors to power the United Kingdom.

The company is seeking sites for a small modular reactor factory in England and Wales, The Financial Times reports. Rolls-Royce is adapting the fission reactors that power the Royal Navy’s nuclear submarines for civilian use in its small modular reactor (SMR) program.

Workers can assemble an SMR in a factory using 80% British components, Rolls-Royce claims. Rolls executives hope to build the reactors in Northern England or Wales where they claim there is existing nuclear expertise.

Rolls-Royce goes Nuclear

The Rolls-Royce SMR power station will be the size of two football fields and generate enough electricity to power one million homes, the company’s website claims. Uses for the SMR include industrial power and powering plants to produce aviation and other fuels. For example, fuel for the Royal Air Force’s jets when Britain’s North Sea oil runs out.

Her Majesty’s government is contributing £210 million ($284.82 million) to Rolls-Royce’s SMR scheme, The Financial Times reports. Small Modular Reactors are part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s 10-point plan for a “green industrial revolution” in the UK. Johnson’s government hopes to reduce Britain’s carbon pollution to zero by 2050.

Rolls-Royce has sent Local Enterprise Partnerships and other regional governments proposals for the SMR factory, The Financial Times reports. The company hopes to get cash from local councils for the project.

Small Modular Reactors gain in Popularity

They will test the SMRs at existing nuclear sites in Britain. However, I imagine, they will roll the SMRs out all the UK if they work. Rolls-Royce has created a subsidiary Rolls-Royce SMR Ltd to build and market SMRs.

Investors in Rolls-Royce SMR LTD include Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund and France’s Perrodo family, The Financial Times notes. The Perrodos own Perenco one of the world’s largest family-owned oil companies. The family’s head Ka Yee Perrodo lives in London.

Small modular reactors are growing in popularity. Companies owned by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett plan to test an SMR in Kemmerer, Wyoming. Moreover, the China Huaneng Group is testing the world’s first electricity producing SMR at Shidao Bay in Shandong Province. SMRs are popular because they fission technology that has powered naval vessels for decades.

Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc is a British defense contractor, engine and generator builder, and aerospace company. Interestingly, Rolls-Royce no longer manufactures the luxury cars favored by British gangsters and American rappers.

Instead, BMW owns Rolls-Royce Motor Cars which builds the legendary land land yachts. Rolls-Royce sold the car company to BMW years ago.