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Gloucestershire Business News

Rolls-Royce looks to build mini-nuclear reactor in South Gloucestershire

Rolls-Royce, supported by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), is looking into potential options for deploying Rolls-Royce SMR power stations across the UK - including a site in South Gloucestershire.

Within the NDA estate, there is land with the potential to host the UK's next generation of nuclear power stations.

A recent successful siting assessment review commissioned by Rolls-Royce SMR is said to have identified a range of sites that could host several generators of new, low- carbon power with four NDA sites prioritised.

The work is said to be consistent with NDA's mission to clean up the UK's earliest nuclear sites safely, securely and cost-effectively to release them for other uses - with the aim of benefiting local communities and the environment.

Rolls-Royce SMR has identified four potential land parcels - two are within the control of the NDA (land at Trawsfynydd and land neighbouring the Sellafield site) with two others on NDA land leased to a third party (Wylfa and Oldbury, South Gloucestershire).

The site in Oldbury is that of the former Oldbury nuclear power station on the south bank of the River Severn, currently being decommissioned by Magnox Ltd, a subsidiary of the NDA.

Any formal commitment of NDA land, or other support, would require government approval via NDA's sponsoring department, BEIS.

Rolls-Royce SMR matched the sites against a set of assessment criteria that will enable stations to be operational by the early 2030s, including: existing geotechnical data, adequate grid connection and a site large enough to deploy multiple SMRs.

Each Rolls-Royce SMR hopes to create enough clean energy to power a million homes for 60 years. Deploying a fleet of SMR in the UK is expected to create 40,000 jobs across England and Wales.

Tom Samson, chief executive officer of Rolls-Royce SMR, said: "I am tremendously grateful to David Peattie and the NDA team for their work in helping inform our understanding of the significant opportunity to bring new nuclear power back to nuclear communities across England and Wales.

"Identifying the sites that can host our SMRs is a key step to our efficient deployment - the sooner that work can begin at site, the sooner we can deliver stable, secure supplies of low-carbon nuclear power from SMRs designed and built in the UK."

"We must maintain this positive momentum and work with the NDA and Government departments, to ensure we capitalise on the range of siting options, focusing on those that maximise benefit to the taxpayer while enabling power to come online as close to 2030 as possible" added Tom.

David Peattie, chief executive officer of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, said: "This study is a tangible step forward in our mission to safely decommission our sites and free up land for future use, delivering benefit to local communities and so to the wider economy.

"We're engaging with several potential partners to explore the use of land in our estate whilst utilising the NDA's nuclear sector expertise to support the delivery of the UK Government's energy security strategy."

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