Rolls-Royce is aiming to have mini nuclear power stations up and running across the UK from 2029, claiming its smaller reactors can produce energy at a cost comparable to renewables projects. The engineering giant is leading a consortium bid to build Small Modular Reactors (SMR) at old nuclear sites in Cumbria and Wales. The SMRs, which can be built in factories, are about one acre in size, with a 10 acre total plot required – one sixteenth of the size of a full size nuclear plant. Paul Stein, chief scientific officer at Rolls-Royce, insisted SMRs will be a cheaper and more attractive option than full size reactors. “We think we can get the cost of a power station producing 440MW – that powers a town about the size of Leeds – to about £1.75bn,” he told BBC Radio 4. “If you go through the maths of the cost of capital, it means we are selling electricity below £60 per MWh, which puts it into the territory of many of the renewables.” The most recent offshore wind projects to secure clean energy contracts through government-backed auctions tabled bids of just under £60/MWh, although the sector is optimistic it can continue to deliver further cost reductions in the future. However, nuclear advocates argue nuclear is worthy of government support given its promise of long term zero emission power and relatively reliable baseload supplies.
Business Green 27th Jan 2020 read more »