Locations shortlisted for £1.3bn small modular reactor factory

Holtec’s Dual-Unit SMR-300 Small Modular Nuclear Plant

The West Midlands, South Yorkshire, the Tees Valley and Cumbria have been shortlisted as potential locations for a £1.3bn small modular reactor (SMR) factory.

Spearheaded by Holtec Britain, the winning site is projected to contribute £1.5bn GVA to the local economy over 15 years and generate thousands of jobs including 3,600 just in the construction phase.

Spanning 20 hectares, the SMR, which has a lower capacity than large-scale nuclear plants and is quicker and cheaper to build, will produce between two and four reactors annually from 2030, each worth £1-2bn.

Holtec is also planning to develop a factory to manufacture around 16 SMRs in England, as well as more across Europe and the Middle East.

The government body Great British Nuclear is running a competition to select the best design for the site.

Holtec senior adviser in the UK Dame Julia King said: “The impact on the local economy for the successful bidder will be game changing. The construction phase is anticipated to directly generate around 3,600 jobs, while the manufacturing operations will sustain up to 400 jobs annually.

“The UK target of net zero by 2050 is one we must meet. Nuclear will play an important role in meeting that target, in the UK and globally. The Holtec Small Modular Reactor offers safe, reliable and clean baseload capacity based on existing proven technology.”

South Yorkshire mayor Oliver Coppard said: “South Yorkshire is cementing our place at the forefront of manufacturing the UK’s Small Modular Reactor capability, in partnership with world leading companies like Holtec.

“We have the biggest cleantech cluster in the UK because of our capabilities and expertise, and this is yet more evidence of those unique strengths.”

Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen said: “We’re at the forefront of clean energy technology across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool – and this shortlisting shows how we’re truly the capital of growth for Small Modular Reactor technology.

“I’m confident we can convince Holtec we’re the premium site given our deep knowledge base in engineering, our great transport links via the Tees, and huge potential we have at our Freeport.

“The potential for another 400 highly skilled well-paid jobs for local people is another huge boost.

“This once again shows we’re putting down a marker to the rest of the world and showing we’re a powerhouse in green energy production and manufacturing on a global stage.”

A final decision on the winning location will be made in the autumn.