Rolls-Royce has received money for the development of mini nuclear reactors

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A group of private investors and the UK government have funded Rolls-Royce in its efforts to construct tiny nuclear reactors that will generate cleaner energy.

Following a £195 million funding injection from private enterprises and a £210 million government grant, the Rolls-Royce Small Modular Reactor (SMR) business was unveiled.

By 2050, the new corporation is expected to employ up to 40,000 people. However, critics argue that the focus should be on renewable energy rather than new nuclear power. Nuclear power currently accounts for around 16% of the UK’s electricity generation.

Rolls-Royce Group, BNF Resources, Exelon Generation, and the government will put their money into developing Rolls-SMR Royce’s design and putting it through regulatory processes to see if it can be deployed in the United Kingdom.

One of Rolls-Royce SMR’s power stations would be around a tenth of the size of a typical nuclear plant – the size of two football fields – and power nearly one million homes, according to the company. The company claims that a plant with a capacity of 470MW could create the same amount of energy as more than 150 onshore wind turbines.

SMRs would be less expensive than the larger plant under construction at Hinkley Point and a planned, but not yet permitted, sister facility at Sizewell in Suffolk, which are both predicted to cost over £20 billion apiece.

If licenced for use in the UK, Rolls-Royce SMR is expected to develop up to 16 reactors for energy generation around the country.

The government has declared nuclear power is a stable source of low-carbon electricity and that it is pursuing large-scale nuclear power while also planning to invest in SMRs, as part of a 10-point strategy to substantially cut greenhouse gas emissions to attain a target of net zero by 2050.

The investment in Rolls-Royce, according to Tony Danker, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, is a “hugely positive milestone for a technology that can not only enhance the economy but also help provide a cleaner and more secure energy system overall.”

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