Study identifies potential sites for small modular reactors

Sites in England and Wales have been identified as potential locations for Rolls-Royce SMR’s small modular reactors.

Trawsfynydd - AdobeStock

The company said that this is the first phase in a programme of work considering siting, collaboration opportunities and the socio-economic benefits of deploying Rolls-Royce SMR units on land within the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) estate, with other UK locations also being evaluated.

The work is consistent with NDA’s aim of cleaning up the UK’s earliest nuclear sites and releasing them for uses that benefit local communities and the environment.

The study has identified sites on the NDA estate that could host several GW of new, low-carbon power from Rolls-Royce SMRs with four NDA sites prioritised. Of these, Rolls-Royce SMR has identified two within NDA controlled land at Trawsfynydd and land neighbouring the Sellafield site, plus NDA land at Wylfa and Oldbury that is leased to a third party.

Rolls-Royce SMR matched the sites against a set of assessment criteria - including existing geotechnical data, adequate grid connection and a site large enough for multiple SMRs - that will enable stations to be operational by the early 2030s.

In a statement, Tom Samson, CEO of Rolls-Royce SMR, said: “Identifying the sites that can host our SMRs is a key step to our efficient deployment – the sooner that work can begin at site, the sooner we can deliver stable, secure supplies of low-carbon nuclear power from SMRs designed and built in the UK.

“We must maintain this positive momentum and work with the NDA and government departments, to ensure we capitalise on the range of siting options, focusing on those that maximise benefit to the taxpayer while enabling power to come online as close to 2030 as possible.” Rolls-Royce SMR said it would create enough clean energy to power a million homes for 60 years. Deploying a fleet of SMR in the UK would create 40,000 jobs across England and Wales.

Minister of state for climate, Graham Stuart, said: “This work to identify potential sites for the first generation of small modular reactors is a positive step. These places not only have a strong historical connection with the industry, but also communities with the skills to benefit from the well-paid jobs that could be created.

“SMRs could make an important contribution to our ambition to deploy up to 24GW of nuclear capacity by 2050, lowering energy costs for consumers, and helping us meet net zero.”