Green light for mini nuclear reactors by 2024, according to Rolls-Royce Business

Boris Johnson is set to approve mini nuclear reactors in 2024 amid a rush to move away from fossil fuels, a Rolls-Royce boss has claimed.

The government asked the nuclear watchdog to start the approval process last month after the company won a £210m grant in November from ministers to develop the world’s first small nuclear reactor (SMR ) from the country.

Paul Stein, president of Rolls-Royce’s Small Modular Reactors division, said the regulatory process should be completed by mid-2024.

“We are trying to work with the UK government and others to start placing orders, so that we can power the grid by 2029,” he told Reuters.

It comes as the Prime Minister seeks to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and reduce carbon emissions by introducing mini-nuclears across the country.

He reportedly said he wanted to see the UK covered in so many mini-nuclears that he foresees that “not everyone will quite have their own little modular reactors in their backyard, but close by”.

Rolls-Royce will start making the parts for the mini-nuclears that are least likely to need changes in the next few years.

Each 470 megawatt (MW) SMR unit costs £1.8 billion and would be built on a 10-acre site, the size of around 10 football pitches. Unlike traditional reactors, they are cheaper and faster to build.

They can be shipped by container from the factory and assembled relatively quickly at any proposed site.

Earlier this month it emerged that a US energy developer, backed by a fund linked to Elon Musk, was in talks with the government to build a small fleet of small nuclear reactors across the UK.

Last Energy wants to build its first mini nuclear power station by 2025 and is in advanced talks at sites in England and Wales.

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This notice was published: 2022-04-19 08:41:24

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