Venture Capital: A Consortium Led By Rolls-Royce Is Building Mini Nuclear Plants

May 17, 2021 | News, Venture Capital

The consortium is now looking for investors and orders for the reactors.

A consortium led by Rolls-Royce (LON: RR) has plans to develop mini nuclear power plants that can each power a million homes and cost £2billion. The UK Small Modular Reactor project got off the ground in 2015 and is targeting to place the first of the 470 MW mini nuke plants in service by 2030. (This Is Money)

Required: Capital and orders

Tom Samson chief executive of the UK SMR Consortium, said talks had commenced for raising £300million of private capital to develop the reactors, with the UK government already having chipped in £18million to support design activity. The prime minister has also promised another £215m in public funds.

Samson said he was already on the lookout for prospective customers such as energy, industrial, or technology companies.

“We’re ready to take this technology to market,” he said, “We’re going to be pursuing orders. We’re hoping to get orders soon.”

Pros and cons

Claiming the mini nuclear plants would run 24/7 for 60 years, Samson said they were not intermittent such as wind and solar renewable energies.

However, cost-wise, the SMRs could compare with offshore wind generation.

Another viewpoint says the SMRs are more affordable, built quicker, and not susceptible to cost overruns as in the case of large-scale nuclear reactors.

Meanwhile, environmental groups are skeptical and deem the SMRs as an unproven technology, according to the FT. Besides, the waste from nuclear energy is highly toxic and takes at least 100,000 years to decay.

Nevertheless, the U.K. would need both modular and large nuclear plants if it intended to achieve net-zero by 2050 say nuclear experts quoted by the FT.

According to Rolls-Royce, the SMR project could contribute as many as 40,000 jobs to the U.K. regions by that date.

Related Story:   AI Could Help Realize the Holy Grail of Nuclear Fusion

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