Business of Weather Episode 17: Can nuclear fulfill its potential?

In this episode we speak to Rolls Royce about their small modular reactor programme and examine the potential for ‘small’ nuclear too play a key role in a net zero power generation strategy.

Can this programme really deliver a factory prodced nuclear electric power system at a promised £50/MWh? While this is more than the cost of renewables, is just half that of the new Hinckley Point C nuclear station which is probably a decade at least away from operation.

Since we spoke to Rolls Royce on 12 October, it has announced that a consortium of itself, BNF Resources UK and Exelon Generation Limited will invest £195m of their own money over three years, together with a £210m grant from the UK government.

While the group will continue to seek out the further investment required to commercialise the small modular reactor programme, this £405m will enable a big step to be taken towards the factory building of an off the shelf ‘plug and play’ nuclear generation system. A solution that could purportedly power a city the size of Leeds before the end of the decade.

Just as importantly though, such a solution would be of enormous value elsewhere in the green energy economy. Most notably, in decarbonising transportation by helping provide the electricity that millions of electric vehicles will require, in the production of green hydrogen via electrolysis, and of no-carbon synthetic jet fuels, plus the desalination of sea water to provide potable water.

Alan Woods, Director of Strategy & Business Development, Rolls Royce Small Modular Reactor Programme.Edit”Episode 17: Can nuclear fulfill its potential?”