Clean Energy Pioneers

A single Rolls-Royce SMR unit can power approximately one million homes.

A different approach

Climate change is affecting every aspect of our lives. It is a global issue and one that must be tackled in a united way. The energy we use, whether through electricity or heat and the way that we travel, contributes to our global carbon footprint.

The European Union has committed to cutting carbon emissions by 55% by 2030. The United Kingdom has set a target of a 78% reduction by 2035. These significant reduction targets will only be met if we think differently about the way we invest in, build and run our energy infrastructure.

Electricity supply has achieved the most significant decarbonisation success in the UK and some European countries - particularly those with nuclear in the mix. But predicted global emissions have still not peaked, making it even more important that countries seeking to identify a route to Net-Zero consider the significant benefits of deploying nuclear, particularly lower cost, small modular nuclear solutions.

Globally, the sources of energy we consume have hardly changed since the 1960s – oil, coal and gas. What has changed has been the amount we use. In 1965 we used 40,000 terawatt-hours of fossil fuels, but by 2019 that had climbed to 136,000 terawatt-hours. in 2019, just 16% of global primary energy came from low-carbon sources including nuclear and renewables. This further emphasises the huge shift that will be required if we are to tackle the decarbonisation challenge in a united way.

At the heart of investment to enable the energy transition is growth – through employment, through GDP growth and through supply chain transition, to enable the roll-out of low carbon energy sources for electricity, for hydrogen production and for the manufacture of synthetic aviation fuel.

Inaction is not a solution and it is right that low cost nuclear continues to be developed as a core component of the Net Zero challenge.

We therefore believe that Rolls-Royce SMRs have a vital role to play in ensuring a global fleet of reactors can provide low cost, deliverable, global and scalable and investable solutions to this challenge as soon as possible.

What they are saying

We have 60 years of experience of producing small reactors for submarines, and we believe we can produce energy from SMRs at a cost at least comparable with renewables such as wind.

Warren East, CEO, Rolls-Royce

Nuclear power is central to tackling climate change, securing economic recovery and strengthening energy security. To do this it must be affordable, reliable and investable and the way we manufacture and assemble our power station brings down its cost to be comparable with offshore wind at around £50 per megawatt-hour.

Tom Samson, CEO, Rolls-Royce SMR

The UK SMR heralds a new approach to the cost of nuclear power by broadly rethinking the manufacturing and construction methods and by the extensive use of digital twinning whilst keeping the physics package exactly the same. This is a pressurised water reactor of a type we know and love.

Paul Stein, Rolls-Royce Chief Technology Officer

Small modular reactor technology is very much at the centre of what the Prime Minister outlined in the 10-point plan; in fact, the nuclear segment of that plan was the third item on the agenda and is extremely important. SMRs will certainly play a part in our nuclear future.

Rt Hon. Kwasi Kwarteng, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

One of the benefits of the SMR approach, is it becomes quite a low-cost source of energy for other parts of the decarbonisation scene, such as hydrogen and synthetic fuel.

Paul Stein, Rolls-Royce Chief Technology Officer

Next generation technologies such as Small and Advanced Modular Reactors, new nuclear will both produce low carbon power and create jobs and growth across the UK.

The Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, HM Government

SMRs represent a huge opportunity…they are flexible and one can operate them in lots of geographical areas. We will undertake a comprehensive assessment of the siting requirements for SMRs and advanced modular reactors so that we can develop this exciting technology.

Rt Hon. Kwasi Kwarteng, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy