Rolls-Royce SMR facility will produce prototype modules


Rolls-Royce SMR facility will produce prototype modules

20th May 2024

Rolls-Royce SMR is setting up a £multi-million facility in Sheffield, UK, to manufacture and test prototype modules for its small modular reactors (SMRs).

The Rolls-Royce SMR Module Development Facility - housed within University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre’s existing Factory 2050 facilities - will produce working prototypes of the individual modules that will be assembled into Rolls-Royce SMR power plants.

The first phase, announced today, is worth £2.7 million and will be part of a wider £15+ million package of work that will further de-risk and underpin the Rolls-Royce SMR programme. The modular approach is unique within the nuclear industry but is widely used and well proven across the oil and gas and renewables sectors.

The Rolls-Royce SMR is UK’s first home-grown nuclear technology for over a generation and today’s announcement is another vital step towards deploying a fleet of ‘factory-built’ nuclear power plants in the UK and around the globe.

Victoria Scott, Rolls-Royce SMR’s Chief Manufacturing Engineer, said: “Our investment in setting up this facility and building prototype modules is another significant milestone for our business.

“Our factories will produce hundreds of prefabricated and pre-tested modules ready for assembly on site. This facility will allow us to refine our production, testing and digital approach to manufacturing - helping de-risk our programme and ensure we increase our delivery certainty.”

Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, Claire Coutinho, said: “Small Modular Reactors are the future of nuclear technology, and key to quadrupling the UK’s nuclear capacity by 2050 as part of the biggest expansion in 70 years.

“This multi-million-pound SMR manufacturing facility will be fantastic for Sheffield – making the Steel City once again the home to world-leading industry.”

Professor Koen Lamberts, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: “We are very proud that Rolls-Royce SMR has chosen to base its Module Development Facility at our Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre’s Factory 2050.

“Today’s announcement is a testament to the University’s strengths in clean energy research and innovation, and our unrivalled expertise in developing leading-edge manufacturing techniques. We welcome this significant commitment from Rolls-Royce SMR to our ongoing partnership and the South Yorkshire region.”

South Yorkshire’s Mayor, Oliver Coppard, said: “This announcement cements South Yorkshire’s position as the leading place to build small modular reactors, a cutting-edge technology which will be a key part of the global transition to clean energy. It is also a sign of real confidence in our region’s world-leading advanced manufacturing innovation district which is helping us to create a bigger and better economy in South Yorkshire.

“South Yorkshire is proud to be the home of the largest Clean Tech cluster in the UK, with specialisms in nuclear tech, hydrogen and aviation fuels. Being chosen as the home of the new Rolls-Royce SMR Module Development Facility further enhances our region’s reputation as the best place for Clean Tech in the UK and puts us at the forefront of creating a greener future for the UK and beyond.”

Rolls-Royce SMR offers a radically different approach to delivering new nuclear power based on proven technology. Each of the factory-built nuclear power stations will provide enough low-carbon electricity to power a million homes for more than 60 years.

21524 Module AMRC 2.jpg, Caption: “Rolls-Royce SMR factories will produce hundreds of prefabricated and pre-tested modules ready for assembly on site into a complete nuclear power plant.”

Notes to Editors:

Rolls-Royce SMR has received UK Government funding of £210m as part of Phase 2 of the Low-Cost Nuclear Challenge Project, administered by UKRI, which has been supplemented by £280m of private capital. The aim of this Government support is to accelerate the Rolls-Royce SMR design and pass at least Step 2 of the (GDA) regulatory process carried out by the nuclear industry’s independent regulators (The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales).

Rolls-Royce SMR welcomes comments and questions about the Rolls-Royce SMR design. This feedback will be incorporated into the GDA process and may be published anonymously on the Rolls-Royce SMR GDA website and used during dialogue with our regulators.

About the AMRC

The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) is a world-leading research and innovation network and has 120 industrial partners including Rolls-Royce, Boeing, McLaren, Airbus and BAE Systems. It collaborates with industry and R&D experts to develop and de- risk innovative solutions for companies across the globe, leading manufacturing towards a smart, sustainable and resilient future.

It turns world-leading research into practical improvements for industry, helping to boost businesses productivity and sharpen their competitive edge, while saving time, money and energy. The AMRC fosters collaborations and partnerships between industry, academia and government to deliver cutting-edge research, development and innovation for better products and processes; while driving forward sustainable manufacturing technologies for net zero, creating the vital step-changes needed in the low-carbon transition.

The AMRC has specialist expertise in digital manufacturing, machine learning and artificial intelligence, composites, casting, automation and robotics, subtractive manufacturing, additive manufacturing, design and prototyping, testing and training. It has a global reputation for helping companies overcome manufacturing challenges and has become a model for collaborative research involving universities, academics and industry, worldwide.

It has a footprint in Lancashire with AMRC North West, and also in Broughton, north Wales with AMRC Cymru. The AMRC is also a member of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, a national consortium of leading manufacturing and process research centres, backed by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK. (amrc.co.uk )