Ministers hand £18m to coalition led by Rolls-Royce to design mini nuclear power stations

Ministers have handed £18million to a coalition led by Rolls-Royce to design mini nuclear power stations.

The consortium, which includes Laing O’Rourke and the National Nuclear Laboratory, wants to build 16 small reactors in the UK.

It has spent four years on early plans for ‘rapid assembly’ power stations which would be made in UK factories and then put together at existing nuclear sites.

Nuclear plans: The Rolls-Royce led consortium, which includes Laing O'Rourke and the National Nuclear Laboratory, wants to build 16 small reactors in the UK

Nuclear plans: The Rolls-Royce led consortium, which includes Laing O’Rourke and the National Nuclear Laboratory, wants to build 16 small reactors in the UK

The Rolls-Royce-led group will match the Government’s funding, meaning £36million will be pumped into the next stage of the programme.

It comes as the UK’s nuclear industry has suffered several setbacks on projects.

A decision on whether to give Hitachi’s stalled £13billion project on Anglesey planning permission was deferred by Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom last month.

And last year plans for a station in Cumbria were scrapped after Toshiba pulled out of the UK.

The consortium estimates ‘baby’ reactors could create up to 40,000 jobs by 2050 and boost the economy by £52billion by 2050.

The plan also supports the Government’s pledge for the UK to be carbon neutral by 2050.

The project still needs to clear regulatory hurdles, and choose a location for the first station.

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Paul Stein, chief technology officer at Rolls-Royce, said: ‘We now have a pathway to zero-carbon electricity at an affordable price which will create thousands of jobs, huge export potential and which will inspire a generation of young scientists and engineers.’

 



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