In a statement the British government said, it has asked its nuclear regulator to start the process for approving Rolls-Royce’s small- scale modular nuclear reactor, which policymakers hope will slash Britain’s dependence on fossil fuels and lower its carbon emissions.
In 2021, Britain backed Rolls Royce’s $546 million funding round with the company aiming to develop the country’s first small modular nuclear reactor (SMR), as part of its drive to reach net zero carbon emissions and promote new technology with export potential.
In a statement Britain’s energy minister Kwasi Kwarteng said, new nuclear projects will play an important role in British efforts to reduce its reliance on LNG, which hit record highs on Monday midst the crisis in Ukraine.
SMRs can be made in factories, with parts small enough to be transported on trucks and barges and assembled more quickly and cheaply than large-scale reactors.
Each mini nuclear power plant can power around 1 million homes; Rolls-Royce has forecast the SMR business could create up to 40,000 jobs based on British and export demand.
Britain’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) said it had been asked to begin a Generic Design Assessment (GDA) for Rolls-Royce SMR Ltd’s 470 megawatt SMR design.
“The assessment will begin once the necessary arrangements around timescales and resources have been put in place,” said the ONR in a statement.
The process typically takes around 4-5 years for large scale reactor designs.