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Rolls-Royce thinks small to power jobs

Rolls-Royce believes a plan to build a fleet of small modular reactor power stations will create 6,000 jobs in the UK within the next five years.

The engineering company, which has a base in Barnwood, heads up the UK SMR Consortium which is calling on the Government to make a clear commitment to build the 16 power stations over the next 20 years.

Rolls-Royce said the power stations will help secure the UK's net zero commitments and position the UK to secure exports of at least £250billion.

Up to 80 per cent of the components will be made in factories before being transported to existing nuclear sites for rapid assembly inside weatherproof canopies.

As well as a further 34,000 long-term jobs by the mid-2030s, the power stations will also provide low carbon energy to produce net zero synthetic aviation fuels and hydrogen.

UK SMR Consortium interim chief executive Tom Samson said: "We have developed a manufacturing and assembly process that will make reliable, low carbon nuclear power affordable, deliverable and investable.

"By creating a factory-built power station that rolls off the assembly line we have radically reduced many construction risks associated with new nuclear power stations; and by using proven nuclear technology alongside standardised and simplified components, we make it much more cheaply.

"Our consortium combines decades of nuclear experience and pioneering world-class manufacturing expertise. We represent the strength that UK industry has to offer in our fight against climate change."

The other members of the consortium are Assystem, Atkins, BAM Nuttall, Jacobs, Laing O'Rourke, National Nuclear Laboratory, Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centreand TWI.

He said: "The UK SMR Consortium presents the UK with a domestic nuclear energy solution for the first time in a generation with a product that is engineered, designed and manufactured in the UK.

"This creates a unique opportunity to revitalise the UK's industrial base and paves the way for the future commercialisation of advanced reactor solutions, including fusion technology."

US power giant Exelon Generation has agreed to pursue the potential to operate compact nuclear power stations in the UK and internationally while Czech Republic power entity CEZ has signed up to see how it could be used in its domestic programme.

The current phase of the programme has been jointly funded by all consortium members and UK Research and Innovation.

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