A new report from Rolls-Royce and its UK Small Modular Reactor (SMR) consortium partners has revealed that small-scale nuclear power plants have the potential to deliver electricity to British consumers at a reduced cost.

The report is entitled ‘UK SMR: A National Endeavour’, and claims that SMRs could deliver energy at £60 per megawatt hour (Mwh), thereby allowing competition against the production cost of wind and solar power.

It has also called upon the Government of the UK to support the development of an SMR programme, which could help create 40,000 skilled jobs, as well as contribute £100bn to the economy and open up a potential £400bn global export market.

The report noted that SMRs are capable of reducing operational complexities, delays and over-expenditure.

Additionally, the development of small-scale nuclear plants could help ensure a steady supply of electricity to consumers at a time when the use of electric vehicles and other electrical equipment is expected to increase.

The study suggests that just one SMR would be able to power a city the size of Leeds and charge more than 62,000 electric cars, or keep 88 million smartphones functional.

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"It represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for UK companies to design, manufacture and operate next generation reactors to meet our energy challenge."

Rolls-Royce Nuclear president Harry Holt said: “The UK has never had a greater need for low-cost, low-carbon, safe, secure and reliable energy production.

“With demand for energy set to rise in the near future, in part due to the growing popularity of electric cars, we believe that a UK SMR programme is a vital addition to our national infrastructure.

“It represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for UK companies to design, manufacture and operate next generation reactors to meet our energy challenge, bolster the Government’s Industrial Strategy, bring jobs and growth to our economy and provide valuable post-Brexit exports.”

A number of UK Small Modular Reactor (SMR) consortium members were also involved in the report's preparation, including Amec Foster Wheeler, Arup, Laing O’Rourke and Nuvia.

Image: Rolls-Royce supports the development of small modular reactors in the UK. Photo: courtesy of Rolls-Royce plc.