Rolls-Royce, an industrial giant with a wide range of businesses, is planning to build 15 small modular reactors (SMR) in the U.K., with the first one scheduled for inauguration in 2029.
Despite the opposition of environmentalists, there are still 448 nuclear power plants in operation worldwide, on top of the 53 which are already under construction.
The constructions of nuclear power plants are typically more common in Asia and East Europe than in the entire US and Western European regions. According to the World Nuclear Association (WNA), this is mainly because of their stricter environmental laws. The wide availability of cheap natural gases and the generally lengthy, complicated, and expensive construction process for nuclear power plants have also contributed to their low adoption.
As Rolls-Royce’s SMRs are designed to be more mobile and flexible than a traditional power plant, they will be an ideal option for the UK's entire power industry; Rolls-Royce’s chief technology officer, Paul Stein, is confident that their modular reactors will help the country to achieve its goal of zero carbon emissions by 2050. According to Stein, the facility can be transported to a site and quickly assembled into a regional nuclear power plant.
In addition to having a projected life span of around 60 years, the SMR is designed to have an annual capacity of up to 400-450 MW and a power output of approximately 1,200-1,350 MWth a year. This output alone would be enough to meet the entire power needs of Leeds, which has a total population of around 700,000.
The UK company is currently planning to build a total of 10-15 SMRs in the U.K., which will generate a total of 52 billion pounds in value by 2050, and fill up to 40,000 job vacancies.
(Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce)