Rolls-Royce’s small modular reactors (SMRs) are, according to the aerospace company, a cheaper and easier way to generate power than traditional nuclear power stations. In fact, it SMRs might just be the cheapest way to achieve net zero energy to power our homes, according to Rolls-Royce’s CTO Paul Stein.
Mr Stein told Express.co.uk in an exclusive interview that while an SMR only takes up less than two football pitches in terms of its size, it can power around half a million homes, which is the same size as a city like Leeds.
But not only does the company claim SMRs offer a cheaper route to net zero, but SMRs could also apparently generate huge profits for the UK.
Mr Stein said: “There is a big export potential for the UK.
“We see it as a significant contribution not only to net zero but a revived UK economy.
“The export opportunity for SMRs is £250billion for the total market.
“We think we have got one of the most competitive designs in the world for SMR and we’re very upbeat in the UK’s role in taking a big share of the global market.”
It comes after the company announced the establishment of a new business – Rolls-Royce SMR Limited – for the deployment and commercialisation of its SMR technology.
The announcement follows the securing of £210million in funding from the Government, matched by more than £250million of private investment.
But Mr Stein said that net zero is not just about generating electricity for the power grid, but that they can also keep costs low for consumers.
He told Express.co.uk: “Our ambition is to get to a place where the consumer doesn’t see any price difference between net zero electricity and the electricity that they get today through fossil fuels.
“That will come with time as we get the volumes up.
“SMRs can generate hydrogen for the hydrogen economy, which is decarbonising other parts of the economy like buses and trucks.
“And there have been some successful UK start-ups not only electrolysing hydrogen-like ITM Power, but also using the hydrogen-like the Right Bus Corporation who have created a hydrogen bus service, so it all kind of connects together in the economy.”
This is likely to please Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who published his UK Hydrogen Strategy which sets out the UK’s plan to decarbonise the economy by using hydrogen.
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Mr Johnson has made this an important part of his “Ten Point Plan” for a “Green Industrial Revolution” for the UK after Brexit.
Mr Stein commented: “Nuclear is absolutely vital.
“Small modular reactors are complete innovations in the way you can strut the nuclear power stations.
“They are going to be huge for UK industry, and we have quoted 40,000 jobs around the UK”.