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Rolls-Royce and Cavendish Nuclear sign delivery and manufacturing partnership agreement for SMR program

Rolls-Royce and Cavendish Nuclear have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore opportunities to deepen the relationship between the parties through cooperation on the Rolls-Royce SMR program.

Under this agreement Rolls-Royce and Cavendish Nuclear commit to working together to develop the roles that Cavendish Nuclear can perform in the design, licensing, manufacturing and delivery aspects of the Rolls-Royce factory-fabricated small modular nuclear power plant.

Among the opportunities to explore will be Cavendish Nuclear’s capabilities in engineering design; validation and verification; and the provision of manufacturing facilities and capability for aspects of the SMR plant manufacture. This will involve exercising the broad set of technical and manufacturing capabilities and facilities that UK-owned Cavendish Nuclear has within its portfolio.

The agreement has been signed by Rolls-Royce in its role as consortium leader on the program that has been working on the design of the power station for the last two years with support from the UK Government through UK Research and Innovation.

The consortium already includes many well-established UK nuclear industry brands including Assystem, Atkins, BAM Nuttall, Laing O’Rourke, National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), Rolls-Royce, Jacobs, The Welding Institute (TWI) and Nuclear AMRC.

The MoU with Cavendish Nuclear brings additional capabilities to the UK SMR program and adds world-class manufacturing and design capabilities to strengthen and complement those already within the current supply chain partners.

The Rolls-Royce SMR takes advantage of factory-built modularization techniques to reduce the amount of on-site construction significantly, and can deliver a low cost nuclear solution that is competitive with renewable alternatives.

Rolls-Royce believes its SMR design will deliver 220MW to 440MW of power, depending on the configuration, and be so compact it can be transported by truck, train or barge. The SMR unit is envisioned to sit within a power station that is roughly one-tenth the size of a typical large scale reactor (40,000 m2 vs. 400,000 m2).

The Rolls-Royce SMR will provide long-term, guaranteed, low-carbon power to support both on-grid electricity as well as a range of off-grid clean energy solutions to support the decarbonization of industry and the production of clean fuels to support the energy transition in the wider heat and transportation sectors.



All the numbers for renewables work way better if baseload is taken care of by nuclear especially in places where it is not very sunny.

Concerns about the raw materials for renewables are eased, as are those for their relatively low ERoEI.

I would advocate integration of SMRs into combined heat and power systems instead of chucking away the heat - their small size makes it easier to integrate.

Present progress in electrolysis is also a major perk for nuclear, as it costs nearly as much not to use the power from a reactor as to use it, with fuel costs being a tiny proportion of total costs, so you might as well be producing hydrogen which can be used in all sorts of ways that are tough for electricity including fertiliser, steel, glass and cement production.

Bring it on!


Fast reactors


I hope that this works out as it produce baseload power with the possibility of also providing process heat. As Devemart points out, when there is sufficient renewable power to provide for some of the baseload, the nuclear plant can be used for high temperature electrolysis of water to produce hydrogen. Maybe steel can also be produced economically using direct high temperature electrolysis of iron.

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