Amid a crippling energy crisis which is sending bills soaring for millions of Britons, experts and ministers alike have stressed the importance of ramping up homegrown supplies. And Rolls-Royce’s small nuclear reactors (SMRs) have been tipped to do just that by revolutionising nuclear power, the most effective form of clean energy.
SMRs are much smaller and easier to build than traditional nuclear stations. The size of just two football pitches, once built they are expected to power around 500,000 homes, or a city the size of Leeds with clean, homegrown energy. Backed by the Government with a £210million investment, they are still yet to be deployed and remain in the design stage.
But while soaring energy costs threaten to push millions of UK households into fuel poverty, Rolls-Royce has struck a deal with ULC-Energy to have SMR power stations built in the Netherlands.
This marks a huge boost for the firm, which has previously been tipped to become a “major energy exporter” thanks to these innovations.
Previously speaking to Express.co.uk, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “Coupled with massive amounts of offshore wind and solar, we are absolutely ready to turn the UK into a major clean energy exporter in the coming decades, which would be a huge reversal of fortunes.
“By supporting the early development of the Rolls Royce SMR technology, not only could we maximise British-made materials, create new intellectual property and reinvigorate local supply chains, but also position our country as a major exporter of nuclear technology with a UK stamp.
“We are determined to harness British engineering know-how to deploy more home-grown, affordable clean energy in this country, and help our European friends end their dependency on Russian oil and gas – small modular reactors could do just that.”
While Rolls-Royce is not the only firm looking to develop SMR technology, ULC Energy has chosen the British firm to provide the reactors.
Around 90 percent of Rolls-Royce’s SMRs will be built in factory conditions, which is said to limit on-site activity to the assembly of pre-fabricated, pre-tested, modules.
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Secretary of State for International Trade, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said: “It is fantastic to see UK firms like Rolls-Royce SMR leading the way on sustainable energy and exporting green technology around the world.
“We are truly proud to support leading UK companies which lead to international partnerships like this one, not only creating high-value jobs here in the UK and abroad, but also helping to wean the planet off harmful fossil fuels and move to reliable, safe, carbon-free energy.
“This is another essential step to meet our ambitious net-zero commitments.”