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Rolls-Royce signs MoU with Fermi Energia to study potential for small modular reactors in Estonia; UKSMR

Rolls-Royce and Fermi Energia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to study the potential for the deployment of affordable, compact nuclear power stations, known as small modular reactors (SMR) in Estonia.

The study will cover all aspects of deployment including grid suitability, cooling, emergency planning, human resources, licensing feasibility, economics and supply chain.

Rolls-Royce is leading a consortium (UKSMR) that is designing a low-cost factory-built small modular reactor (SMR) power station. Its standardized, factory-made components and advanced manufacturing processes push costs down, while the rapid assembly of the modules and components inside a weatherproof canopy on the power station site itself avoid costly schedule disruptions.

Fermi Energia is a company founded by nuclear scientists, energy experts and entrepreneurs to bring small modular reactors to Estonia to meet its climate goals, help the economy develop and gain energy security.

The consortium led by Rolls-Royce is working with its partners and UK Government to secure a commitment for a fleet of factory built nuclear power stations, each providing at least 440MW of electricity, to be operational within a decade, helping the governments around the world net zero obligations.

The consortium members feature the best of nuclear engineering, construction and infrastructure expertise in Assystem, Atkins, BAM Nuttall, Jacobs, Laing O’Rourke, National Nuclear Laboratory, Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, Rolls-Royce and TWI. The current phase of the program has been jointly funded by all consortium members and UK Research and Innovation.

Nuclear power is central to tackling climate change, economic recovery and energy security. To do this it must be affordable, reliable and investable and the way we manufacture and assemble our power station brings its cost down to be comparable with offshore wind. It also stimulates jobs and growth and with the flexibility to power alternative low carbon fuels manufacture as well as providing grid power, it is the best option for underpinning decarbonisation strategies around the world.

—Tom Samson, interim CEO of the UKSMR consortium

The power stations will be built by the UKSMR consortium, before being handed over to be operated by power generation companies.

Fermi Energia is looking at Small Modular Reactor designs with credible technical, financial and political commitment to have First of a Kind deployment this decade. Rolls-Royce SMR certainly fits the bill with strong UK government commitment on carbon neutrality and nuclear energy with appropriate national financing on Rolls-Royce SMR development. Estonia and the United Kingdom have enjoyed a century of friendship and cooperation that we hope can be carried into the field of nuclear energy for the 21st century. Fermi Energia will consider Rolls-Royce SMR as one of the credible SMR designs in its national designated spatial planning procedure.

—Kalev Kallemets, CEO and co-founder of Fermi Energia


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