Rolls-Royce inks £multimillion deal to trial mini nuclear reactors

Rolls-Royce has inked a £multimillion deal to trial manufacturing techniques for small modular reactors (SMRs).

Advocates of SMRs say they are a potential game changer for the nuclear power industry, as they are quicker and cheaper to build than traditional nuclear power plants.

Rolls-Royce has signed a £15m deal with Sheffield University for the manufacturing and testing of SMRs.

The engineering giant will make prototypes of SMR modules at the university’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, after which it will look to produce them at large scale.

The SMRs will be factory-built and transported to sites for installation.

Secretary of state for energy security and net zero, Claire Coutinho describes SMRs as the “future of nuclear technology”, adding that they are “key to quadrupling the UK’s nuclear capacity by 2050 as part of the biggest expansion in 70 years”.

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“This multi-million-pound SMR manufacturing facility will be fantastic for Sheffield – making the Steel City once again the home to world-leading industry,” she added.

Rolls-Royce SMR’s chief manufacturing engineer Victoria Scott, said: “Our investment in setting up this facility and building prototype modules is another significant milestone for our business.

“Our factories will produce hundreds of prefabricated and pre-tested modules ready for assembly on site. This facility will allow us to refine our production, testing and digital approach to manufacturing – helping de-risk our programme and ensure we increase our delivery certainty.”

Last month, it was revealed that Rolls-Royce had put on hold plans to build a new nuclear factory in the UK, following delays to a government design competition.

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