Report urges government to back UK SMR programme

Small modular reactors could produce energy for as low as £60 per MW/h and lower the cost of electricity for consumers, according to a report published today.


The report, issued by Rolls-Royce and its partners in a UK Small Modular Reactor (SMR) consortium, says these benefits could be realised if government was to back an SMR programme for the UK that could compete on price with wind and solar and bring down the cost of nuclear-generated power.

The study – UK SMR: A National Endeavour – urges ministers to support the development of British-manufactured power plants, which could create 40,000 skilled jobs, contribute £100bn to the economy and open up a potential £400bn global export market.

The report argues that, through its approach to modular construction, the UK SMR programme is well placed to avoid the complexities, delays and overspends associated with infrastructure projects.

“One SMR can power a city the size of Leeds, charge more than 62,000 electric cars, or keep 88 million smartphones operational”

In a statement, Harry Holt, president of Nuclear at Rolls-Royce, said: “The UK has never had a greater need for low cost, low carbon, safe, secure and reliable energy production. With demand for energy set to rise in the near future – in part due to the growing popularity of electric cars – we believe that a UK SMR programme is a vital addition to our national infrastructure.

“It represents a once in a lifetime opportunity for UK companies to design, manufacture and operate next generation reactors to meet our energy challenge, bolster the government’s Industrial Strategy, bring jobs and growth to our economy and provide valuable post-Brexit exports.”

Lord Hutton, chairman of the Nuclear Industry Association, said: “It is vitally important to make the decision to move forward on this opportunity now. That is why the UK government should make clear its intentions so that the UK can deliver a solution that will supply secure, reliable and affordable electricity for more than 60 years and capitalise on new overseas markets that are emerging for SMRs.”

Consortium partners include Amec Foster Wheeler, Arup, Laing O’Rourke and Nuvia.