Rolls-Royce has shortlisted six possible locations for the first of three factories to manufacture its small modular reactor (SMR) power plants.
The locations of the final shortlisted sites for the first plant are: Sunderland in Tyne and Wear, Richmond in North Yorkshire, Deeside in Wales, Ferrybridge in Yorkshire, Stallingborough in Lincolnshire, and Carlisle in Cumbria.
The company said the shortlist was selected against a clear set of criteria, picked from over 100 submissions from local enterprise partnerships and development agencies.
The first £200m factory, which is set to be the largest and most complex of the three, will manufacture the ‘heavy vessels’ for SMR power stations.
It is expected to be around 23,000 sq.metres in size, the equivalent of three football pitches, and to create more than 200 permanent jobs.
‘Affordable, low-carbon electricity’
Rolls-Royce said that construction of the first factory would begin once it receives the go-ahead to build a fleet of SMRs in the UK.
Tom Samson, Rolls-Royce SMR CEO, said: “I would like to thank everyone who sent in a submission suggesting locations in their region for the first Rolls-Royce SMR factory.
“The response was fantastic and shows the ambition and appetite of the UK to build and operate a fleet of SMRs which will provide affordable, low-carbon electricity for generations to come.
“The final location will come from the shortlist and will result in significant investment, long-term high-skilled jobs and will support the UK government’s aspirations for levelling-up.”
The other two factories will manufacture civils modules and mechanical electrical and plumbing modules – which will be transported to sites and assembled into a nuclear power plant.
A Rolls-Royce-led UK SMR consortium aims to build 16 SMRs.
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The consortium – which includes Assystem, Atkins, BAM Nuttall, Jacobs, Laing O’Rourke, National Nuclear Laboratory, the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and TWI – aims to complete its first unit in the early 2030s and build up to 10 by 2035.
To minimise the construction phase of the programme, the UK SMR is fully modularised with the reactor, about 16 metres by 4 metres, able to be transported by road, rail or sea.
Targeting a 500-day modular build, the consortium says this concept minimises the onsite time and effort required to construct and build the plant, with about 90% of manufacturing and assembly activities to be carried out in factory conditions.
Image: An artist’s impression of a Rolls-Royce SMR (credit: Rolls-Royce)
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