Rolls-Royce receives funding for two mini-nuclear plants that can power a million homes

Rolls-Royce’s project to create mini nuclear reactors has received the support of the Government.

Ministers have approved the plans to build a small fleet of modular reactors (SMRs), to make Britain more environmentally friendly and prevent a potential power crisis by the 2030s.

Each plant will be around the size of two football pitches – around a tenth of the size of a normal station – and can power one million homes.

An artist's impression of a Rolls-Royce small modular reactor. The government has agreed to fund the project to help Britain go green and avert a power crisis in the early 2030s

Artist’s impression showing a small modular reactor from Rolls-Royce. The government has agreed to fund the project to help Britain go green and avert a power crisis in the early 2030s

Although the project was in development for several years, it is the first official state pledge to build new nuclear stations. This comes after Theresa May, then prime minister, signed Hinkley Point C into law in 2016.

Ministers have been in discussions to create a new Sizewell site in Suffolk. However, it hasn’t yet been completed.

Rolls and two other firms, BNF Resources and Exelon Generation, have agreed to put £195m into the project over the next three years.

This will unlock £210million in grants from the UK Research and Innovation Fund. But the business will also be looking for private financing – and the Mail understands millions more in funding will be announced in the coming days.

Recent Government promises to become net-zero by 2050 have made nuclear power a central pillar. Boris Johnson also stated in his ten point plan that the government will launch a “green industrial revolution”, which Boris Johnson outlined last year.

Kwasi Kwarteng, Business Secretary of the UK, stated that this is an opportunity to use more low-carbon energy than ever before.

“We are able to maximise British content, generate new intellectual property, and revitalize supply chains. But also, our leadership position in the field of innovative nuclear technologies means that we have potential export opportunities. 

Others countries such as the Czech Republic have expressed interest in purchasing their SMRs.

New nuclear projects have faced many difficulties due to the lengthy and often tedious process of seeking funding and permission. 

This new business will be working with the Government to make it happen in just five years. The government wants to submit for planning permission simultaneously and also sign-off on designs. It is unclear how funding will work.

This will allow for the next five years of construction to complete the initial plant. The first plant would open in 2031. Next, it will likely take three years to build the next SMR stations.

Rolls-Royce SMR, the business that designs nuclear reactors for the UK since 1950s is owned by 80 percent of the engineer.