LONDON: Rolls-Royce is set to work alongside the UK government to develop a fleet of small nuclear reactors to generate cleaner energy.
The UK engineering firm said in a statement it had created a Rolls-Royce Small Modular Reactor unit, following £195 million ($264 million) of cash from US energy company Exelon and privately-held BNF Resources UK over three years.
The remaining £210 million of funding comes from government research grants.
A single Rolls-Royce small power station will cover the space of two football pitches, one-tenth of the size of a conventional nuclear energy plant, and power around one million homes.
The new company plans to create up to 40,000 jobs by 2050.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson backs the move, which falls in line with his ‘Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution’, released last year.
Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the UK to deploy more low carbon energy than ever before and ensure greater energy independence.”
Rolls-Royce chief executive Warren East added the new unit was “one of the ways that Rolls-Royce is meeting the need to ensure the UK continues to develop innovative ways to tackle the global threat of climate change”.
The new unit could build up to 16 reactors across the UK for £2 billion each, reported the BBC.
This is less than the £20 billion each for the larger plant under construction at Hinkley Point in Somerset and at its sister site at Sizewell in Suffolk, which is yet to be approved.
Rolls-Royce added that it “is engaging with export customers across many continents who need this technology to meet their own net-zero commitments”.
Other countries in the West, the US and France, are also developing small nuclear plants for use in their domestic markets and abroad – a challenge to China, which is a leader in exporting nuclear power stations around the world.