After securing £450m from government and investors, Rolls-Royce is moving ahead with its Small Modular Reactor (SMR) project, part of the government program 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution over the next decade. This new generation of nuclear reactors will be faster and cheaper to deploy than their traditional large-scale counterparts.
In front of Manufacturing Technology Centeris to come National Manufacturing SummitJames Devonshire spoke briefly with Alan Woods, Director of Strategy and Business Development at Rolls-Royce Small Modular Reactors, who will be speaking at the event, to get a taste of what we can do. wait for us…
JD: For our readers who aren’t quite in the know, what is Rolls-Royce’s SMR program in a nutshell?
AW: We bring to market a low-cost, low-carbon, modular approach to new nuclear.
RR has been building nuclear reactors for submarines for 60 years, we are developing a civilian reactor for electricity, hydrogen production, intensive energy users, synthetic aviation fuel – decarbonization and electrification will drive a huge demand for low carbon technologies and SMR RRs are a perfect solution to this challenge
JD: You will be speaking at MTC’s upcoming National Manufacturing Summit. What can expect to learn?
AW: We recently launched our factory search, to identify a location for the first factory to enable SMR deployment in the UK and for export.
Attendees will learn about our initial supply chain strategy and how we will target and improve 80% UK content
JD: What is RR SMR looking to take away from the event?
AW: We speak at many nuclear conferences, in 2022 we want to speak at conferences on energy, manufacturing, STEM skills – to reach a wider audience.
JD: What is the next step in the Rolls-Royce SMR roadmap? I know you are looking for potential sites to build factories. How’s it going?
AW: The identification of the site of the first plant will be a major step, it is a significant and tangible step in the deployment.
We will soon be entering the Generic Design Assessment process run by the UK regulator – this means the SMR RR will be the only European SMR in a regulatory program – important that we provide this first mover advantage.
JD: As well as producing cleaner energy, what else does the UK need to do to meet its ambitious net zero targets?
AW: Decarbonization is a formidable challenge. There is a lot of focus on hydrogen, but people often fail to explain how they are going to produce green hydrogen – we see an opportunity to use SMRs for low carbon hydrogen production. With the significant increase in electrification, we need to make a major infrastructure change that quickly brings low-carbon solutions to market.
Alan concluded by saying that there is huge government support for new nuclear, which is cross-party. “It enables long-term investment decisions and is a very important factor in our future success,” he said.
Alan Woods is Director of Strategy and Business Development at Rolls-Royce Small Modular Reactors
The National Manufacturing Summit will take place February 8-9 at the Manufacturing Technology Center in Coventry. Register now to secure your spot: nmsummit.co.uk/book
*header image courtesy of Rolls-Royce SMR