GB News: Dan Wootton discusses nuclear energy plan
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British engineering giant Rolls-Royce is set to make the UK a major energy exporter with plans to deploy its revolutionary nuclear power stations in the Czech Republic by the 2030s. Its vision for the future couldn’t be further away from today’s situation. National Grid warned earlier this winter that there was a chance the UK may not be able to shore up energy imports from Europe. But the major luxury car and aero-engine manufacturing business now foresees a more positive future. It envisions a scenario that could involve Britain exporting small modular (or nuclear) reactors (SMRs) and being at the top of its game.
These will generate energy in a brand new way, and could be shipped off as far away as Eastern Europe. While there are also plans to start building these in the UK, Rolls-Royce SMR’s CEO Tom Samson said there is a golden opportunity to “export our British technology”.
He said: “There is a significant opportunity to export our British technology to the Czech Republic and the wider region in support of their low-carbon energy aspirations. Rolls-Royce SMR has developed a factory-built power station that can provide clean, affordable electricity for generations to come.
“The Czech Republic has a strong nuclear heritage and, by combining the skills and expertise from the two countries, we can find a route to bring.”
Different to traditional nuclear power stations that are large, expensive and take a long-time to build, SMRs are around the size of two football pitches and are much quicker to deploy. But despite their smaller size, they deliver a lot of bang for their buck and are capable of powering around half a million homes per reactor.
This power output is roughly a fifth to a third of the larger more traditional reactors at Hinkley Point C, the project underway in Somerset.
The Government has signalled its confidence in Rolls-Royce’s initiative and is investing £210million to help develop the innovations.
Previously speaking to Express.co.uk, Kwasi Kwarteng who was Business Secretary at the time, just before his brief but disastrous stint as Chancellor under Liz Truss, said: “Coupled with massive amounts of offshore wind and solar, we are absolutely ready to turn the UK into a major clean energy exporter in the coming decades, which would be a huge reversal of fortunes.
“By supporting the early development of the Rolls-Royce SMR technology, not only could we maximise British-made materials, create new intellectual property and reinvigorate local supply chains, but also position our country as a major exporter of nuclear technology with a UK stamp.
“We are determined to harness British engineering know-how to deploy more home-grown, affordable clean energy in this country, and help our European friends end their dependency on Russian oil and gas – small modular reactors could do just that.”
According to current Trade Minister Greg Hands, the Czech Republic is the perfect place to start exporting the groundbreaking British technology to.
He said: “Exporting not only helps businesses grow but also supports jobs, drives productivity and boosts the economy.
“I’m proud to be supporting Rolls-Royce SMR in the Czech Republic and hope these discussions lead to exciting opportunities for the British brand.
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“As the recent Energy Minister, I understand the important role small modular reactors offer for enhancing energy security.”
Were the innovations to be up and running right now, they could have helped the UK avoid the “unlikely worst-case scenario” of planned blackouts, which will involve three-hour organised power outages if National Grid is forced to balance the grid.
On Wednesday, to account for “tight supplies”, National Grid ordered three coal power stations to be fired up for the third time in a week, one of its operational tools to make sure electricity is delivered to households.
In response, Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, said: “These are increasingly concerning times for the security of our electricity supplies. Repeated warnings over tight supply margins, the scale of power imports and emergency measures being taken, demonstrate that you cannot offshore energy security.
“For long-term energy security, we need to urgently get on with a programme of new nuclear capacity to provide secure, reliable, clean power for the future. The failure to do so a generation ago has left us in this increasingly precarious position and repeating past mistakes will leave the UK over-exposed to the variability of some power sources and the volatility of dirty fossil fuel prices.”
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