Rolls-Royce reveals possible locations for nuclear factory that will create over 200 jobs

A CGI of a power plant

Two sites in the North West are included in seven potential locations for a Rolls-Royce factory linked to the creation of its Small Modular Reactor (SMR) nuclear power stations.

This would be the first of three factories. It will manufacture the ‘heavy vessels’ for its SMR power station and will be the largest and most complex facility. Therefore, it is important to take decisions early to enable its deployment, the engineering giant said.

Construction will begin once Rolls-Royce SMR receives the go-ahead to build a fleet of SMRs in the UK.

The shortlist includes Richmond in North Yorkshire, Deeside in Wales, Ferrybridge, Stallingborough in Lincolnshire, Sunderland and Carlisle.

Rolls-Royce SMR chief executive, Tom Samson, said: “I would like to thank everyone who sent in a submission suggesting locations in their region for the first Rolls-Royce SMR factory. The response was fantastic and shows the ambition and appetite of the UK to build and operate a fleet of SMRs which will provide affordable, low-carbon electricity for generations to come.

“The final location will come from the shortlist and will result in significant investment, long term high-skilled jobs and will support the UK Government’s aspirations for levelling-up. Today’s announcement is another example of the pace of our project and why Rolls-Royce SMR is the UK’s domestic nuclear energy champion.”

Rolls-Royce SMR’s approach is a completely different way of building nuclear power stations, where 90% of the Rolls-Royce SMR is built in factory conditions, significantly reducing the timescales and project risk.

The other two factories will manufacture civils modules and mechanical electrical and plumbing (MEP) modules, which will be transported to sites and assembled into a nuclear power station that will generate 470MW of low carbon electricity. These locations will be selected from the full list of submissions, giving all locations further opportunities to host a Rolls-Royce SMR factory.

Secretary of State for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, Kwasi Kwarteng, said: “Backed by £210m, SMRs have the potential to provide quicker and cheaper low carbon nuclear power, and today’s announcement underlines the potential for new jobs around the country created by embracing this new technology.”

The factory is expected to be around 23,000 sq m in size, the equivalent of three football pitches. It has a value to the region of £100m-200m and will create more than 200 permanent roles.

Jo Lappin, chief executive at the Cumbria LEP, said: “It is really welcome news that Kingmoor Park in Carlisle has been selected by Rolls Royce SMR as one of the six shortlisted sites for their manufacturing facility.

“In nominating the site the LEP recognised the excellent credentials of the site and of Cumbria, more generally, to host the heavy pressure vessel and other manufacturing facilities. Currently, advanced manufacturing makes up 21% of our economy, which is 100% more concentrated than the national average, with much higher productivity levels.

“Securing the facility would help move forward Cumbria’s clean energy generation ambitions and create long term and high-quality jobs and supply chain opportunities. The LEP will work closely with colleagues in Kingmoor Park to present a highly persuasive case to bring the facility to Carlisle.”

Neil McIntyre, managing director at Kingmoor Park, said: “Cumbria has an incredible nuclear legacy and we’re really excited about our region being at the forefront of nuclear innovation. The Rolls-Royce SMR team has been actively exploring locations in Cumbria for their first, revolutionary power plant.

“It’s another positive step that Kingmoor Park in Carlisle is also now in the running to host the factory where the main components for the power stations will be manufactured.”

He added: “Securing this development would bring investment and more highly skilled jobs to Cumbria, complementing the existing nuclear centre of excellence. It’s further evidence that clean energy generation will be a major part of Cumbria’s economic success in the decades to come. We’ll continue to put forward the best case we can to bring this facility to Carlisle.”

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