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UK small modular reactor initiative hopes to create 6,000 jobs

Courtesy Wikimedia

The UK Small Modular Reactor consortium, led by Rolls-Royce, expects to create 6,000 jobs from its project within the next five years.

The consortium says the jobs, together with a further 34,000 long-term jobs by the mid-2030s, will be feasible if the UK government makes a clear commitment that enables a fleet of 16 SMR power stations to be built over the next 20 years.

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

Rolls Royce said the plants will help secure the UK’s net-zero commitments affordably, revitalize the UK’s regional industrial base and position the UK to secure exports of at least £250 billion ($329.3 billion).

Up to 80% (by value) of the power station components will be made in factories in the Midlands and North of England, before being transported to existing nuclear sites around the country for rapid assembly inside weatherproof canopies.

Rolls Royce said the power stations will also provide low carbon energy to produce net-zero synthetic aviation fuels and hydrogen, supporting the UK government’s Net Zero ambition and the wider decarbonization of transport.

Each compact nuclear power station will provide 440 MW of electricity, enough low carbon power for a city of 450,000 homes for 60 years. The first unit will be operational within 10 years of the first order, with the factories able to produce two units per year thereafter.

UK SMR Consortium boss Samson added: “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.”