Small Modular Reactors

UK / Rolls-Royce SMR Consortium Joins European Industry Group Foratom

By David Dalton
16 March 2021

Rolls-Royce SMR Consortium Joins European Industry Group Foratom
A computer-generated image of a proposed UKSMR nuclear power plant. Courtesy Rolls-Royce.
The UKSMR (UK small modular reactor) consortium led by Rolls-Royce has joined the Brussels-based European nuclear industry group Foratom, Rolls-Royce announced.

The consortium is designing a low-cost factory built SMR. According to Rolls-Royce, the plant’s standardised, factory-made components and advanced manufacturing processes push costs down, while the rapid assembly of the modules and components inside a weatherproof canopy on the power station site itself avoids costly schedule disruptions.

Tom Samson, interim chief executive officer of the UKSMR consortium, said nuclear power is central to tackling climate change, economic recovery and energy security. “To do this it must be affordable, reliable and investable and the way we manufacture and assemble our power station brings its cost down to be comparable with offshore wind.”

Foratom director-general Yves Desbazeille, said the topic of SMRs is gaining momentum in the European Union as there are discussions on how the technology could fit into Europe’s future energy mix. “We are happy to be able to benefit from the expertise of the UKSMR consortium and its experts in this field in order to ensure that the potential of SMRs is fully recognised by EU decision makers,” he said.

Consortium members are Assystem, Atkins, BAM Nuttall, Jacobs, Laing O’Rourke, National Nuclear Laboratory, Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, Rolls-Royce and TWI. The current phase of the SMR programme has been jointly funded by all consortium members and UK Research and Innovation.

The consortium is working with its partners and the government to secure a commitment for a fleet of factory built SMR plants, each providing at least 470 MW of electricity, to be operational within a decade.

The membership agreement with Foratom follows the recent signing of an agreement with Estonia’s Fermi Energia to study the potential for the deployment of UKSMRs, in Estonia.

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