Manufacturer Rolls-Royce has told the BBC’s Today programme that it plans to install and operate factory-built power stations by 2029. Mini nuclear stations can be mass manufactured and delivered in chunks on the back of a lorry, which makes costs more predictable. But opponents say the UK should quit nuclear power altogether. They say the country should concentrate on cheaper renewable energy instead. Environmentalists are divided over nuclear power, with some maintaining it is dangerous and expensive, while others say that to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 all technologies are needed. However, the industry is confident that mini reactors can compete on price with low-cost renewables such as offshore wind. Rolls-Royce is leading a consortium to build small modular reactors (SMRs) and install them in former nuclear sites in Cumbria or in Wales. Ultimately, the company thinks it will build between 10 and 15 of the stations in the UK. They are about 1.5 acres in size – sitting in a 10-acre space. That is a 16th of the size of a major power station such as Hinkley Point. SMRs are so small that theoretically every town could have its own reactor – but using existing sites avoids the huge problem of how to secure them against terrorist attacks.
BBC 24th Jan 2020 read more »
Rolls-Royce aims to have at least ten ‘mini nuclear reactors’ that it can transport on lorries running by 2029 in plan which could revitalise energy industry. Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Chief Technology Officer Paul Stein said the firm aim to get their first SMR up and running in the UK by 2029 and that they could revitalise the country’s nuclear sector. Stein says Rolls Royce’s focus on driving down the cost of nuclear reactors means the projects are economically viable and can compete with some forms of renewable energy. A Nuclear Consulting Group report says the financial justification for SMRs is uncertain though. They noted: ‘Setting up SMR assembly lines is costly, and the relative economics of SMR production may remain unproven until very many SMR units have been produced – which, paradoxically, cannot happen until a significant number of orders are placed, a circular dilemma.’
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