Rolls-Royce has stepped up its drive to build a fleet of small nuclear power stations – by switching 30 staff from its Trident submarine work. The engineer is trying to become the government’s chosen supplier for a fleet of small modular reactors (SMRs). It is understood to have moved the staff from the submarine programme, where they were developing a new type of reactor. Rolls-Royce, which earns most of its money making and maintaining aircraft engines, has a vital role on the Successor programme for replacing submarines armed with nuclear warheads. It is building the new PWR3 reactor in Derby. Sources said the staff switch has prompted concern about resources for the PWR3. However, with design of that reactor finalised, the employees are understood to have moved across to help assess the civil reactors. Rolls-Royce said: “Delivering upon our commitments to the government for the Successor programme is our number one priority and is never compromised.” More than 30 rival designs are in a Whitehall-run competition to choose a new type of small nuclear power station. Ministers hope a network of SMRs, small enough to transport on the back of a truck, will eventually be built to help plug a looming power gap. They would complement new, far bigger nuclear plants such as Hinkley, and cost a fraction of its £18bn price tag.
Times 2nd Oct 2016 read more »
Rolls-Royce is attempting to capitalise on the Government’s plans for a new industrial strategy with a bold appeal to ministers to choose British firms to develop new “mini-nuclear generators” in the UK. The company heads what it says is the only British-led consortium in the Government’s £250m competition to develop small modular reactor (SMR) nuclear technology. Ministers hope small nuclear plants, which are yet to be built anywhere in the world, will prove quicker and easier to finance and build than big reactors like Hinkley Point. More than 30 companies are vying to be selected as the developer that can offer the “best value” SMR design for the UK, with a winner expected to be picked in the autumn. Rolls-Royce is understood to have submitted a paper to the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. It claims that developing a fleet of 7 gigawatts (GW) of mini-nuclear plants with its consortium could provide a £100bn boost to the economy because the companies involved, thought to number a dozen, are either UK-owned or have a strong UK presence.
Telegraph 1st Oct 2016 read more »
A new kind of small reactor, long billed as the most convincing future for nuclear energy production, could be in use in the U.K. by 2030. These devices are, as the name suggests, smaller than regular nuclear power plants, providing 300 megawatts or less of energy capacity. Because of their modest size, they’re easier to build and install than their larger counterparts, as well as being safer. In theory they can also be used to provide both heat and electricity to nearby communities. A new report by the U.K.’s government-backed Energy Technologies Institute outlines what it considers to be a reasonable timeline for the country to adopt the new reactors, estimating that they could be in use by 2030. For that to happen, talks between operators, developers, and the government would have to begin next year.
MIT Review 30th Sept 2016 read more »