New nuclear unit at Rolls-Royce

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Rolls-Royce is establishing a new business unit to address the global market for civil nuclear power. The company estimates that this worldwide market could be worth £50bn a year in 15 years time.

The company claims it has the largest nuclear skills base of any UK company, with around 2,000 specialist nuclear-focused employees in the UK, France and the US. It also says it has the UK’s most substantial nuclear supply chain, comprising around 260 proven suppliers.

The company’s strength in nuclear power originates from its involvement in the development and support of the nuclear steam raising plant for the Royal Navy’s nuclear submarine programme. In addition, it established Data Systems & Solutions (DS&S) in 1999. DS&S provides safety critical instrumentation and control for civil nuclear reactors in Europe, including France’s 58 reactors, the US and other markets such as China.

'The expansion of the civil nuclear market represents an exciting opportunity which builds on our extensive nuclear capabilities,' said Sir John Rose, chief executive of the company.

The new unit will provide a service that can support a number of the phases of a civil nuclear programme, including providing advice to governments and operators, technical engineering support and safety assessments, manufacturing, procurement and through life support.

The company estimates that by 2023 the global civil nuclear market, currently worth around £30bn a year, will be worth approximately £50bn a year, with £13bn in support to existing nuclear plant, £20bn in new build and £17bn in support for new reactors.

The work that Rolls-Royce currently undertakes for the Royal Navy’s submarine programme will be unaffected by the changes.