Rolls-Royce optimistic that its SMR design will be approved quickly

Rolls-Royce SMR, the UK small modular nuclear reactor (SMR) subsidiary of global power and propulsion systems manufacturing group Rolls-Royce, hopes it will receive UK regulatory approval for its design in around two years. and that it will produce electricity before the end of this decade. Then President of Rolls-Royce SMR Paul Stein told the Reuters news agency.

The SMR’s regulatory approval process began last month. “[It] will probably end in the middle of 2024,” he said, “we are trying to work with the UK government and others to start placing orders now, so we can get electricity on the grid. ‘here 2029.’

Rolls-Royce leads a consortium of nine major members (including Rolls-Royce), comprising both companies and institutions, to develop and manufacture the SMR. The other members of the consortium are Assystem, Atkins, BAM Nuttall, Jacobs, Laing O’Rourke, the National Nuclear Laboratory (UK), the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Center and TWI (formerly The Welding Institute). Rolls-Royce SMR is the “special purpose vehicle” created by the consortium to run the program.

Rolls-Royce’s SMR is a 470 MWe design (larger than many other SMR designs and proposals) and is based on a small pressurized water reactor (PWR) design. (Rolls-Royce is responsible for the design and manufacture of the small PWRs that power Britain’s Royal Navy nuclear-powered submarines.)

It is indeed fully modularized. The reactor will have dimensions of approximately 16 m by 4 m and can be transported by rail, road or water. The consortium aims to be able to build a complete SMR plant in 500 days. SMR’s complete nuclear power plant would occupy a site the size of approximately five and a half football (soccer) fields.

The regulatory process began last month when the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy formally requested the UK’s Office of Nuclear Regulatory (ONR), England’s Environment Agency (EA) and Natural Resources Wales to carry out a Generic Design Assessment (GDA) of the SMR design. The GDA is a process for evaluating the safety, security and environmental protection elements of a nuclear power plant design intended to be built in Great Britain (there are no nuclear power plants in Northern Ireland). North). Successful completion of the GDA would result in the ONR issuing a “Design Acceptance Confirmation” and the EA issuing a “Design Acceptance Statement”.

The rapid expansion of the country’s nuclear capacity, using both large reactors and SMRs, is part of the UK’s recently published ‘Energy Security Strategy’. The aim is to have 24 MWe of nuclear generation capacity by 2050. Outside the UK, Rolls-Royce SMR already has memorandums of understanding with companies in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Turkey and in the USA.