Press Room

The future of nuclear power

26th October 2017

We’re leading the way with an innovative and effective solution to a changing global power requirement.

Nuclear power is changing

Building nuclear power stations is costly, complex and takes time.

Our UK Small Nuclear Reactor is a low-cost alternative for a global market. With a modular design that’s built in a factory, it can improve certainty of delivery, reduce complexity, optimise safety.


  • Currently, nuclear power stations are large scale sites that typically cover an area of over 400,000m2.

  • This is because traditionally once a company has gone through the time and expense of securing an appropriate site, it was more cost effective to build as much capacity on that site as possible.

  • Construction of these sites can take years to complete and their complexity can lead to significant delays and escalating costs.

A solid foundation

We’ve been a nuclear reactor plant designer since the UK nuclear submarine programme started. We’ve provided compact nuclear pressure water reactors (PWRs) across seven submarine classes, and have been involved in the design of a number of civil nuclear power stations.

A safe pair of hands

We’ve worked on the development of the SMR programme since the 1990's, and are the only private western reactor designer that has experience of operating reactor plant. In the UK we have operated the onshore test reactor at Dounreay (a nuclear plant prototype test facility for naval reactors), and we’re the largest employer of nuclear engineers.

A truly modular solution

Safe, reliable and affordable low carbon electricity.

A Small Modular Reactor (SMR) programme presents a truly innovative solution that will redefine methods of delivering low carbon power.

SMRs will be made in centralised UK based manufacturing facilities and then transported to anywhere in the country or overseas, producing benefits of scale which will drive down costs. We're developing a patented modular concept which is designed specifically for factory manufacture and commissioning, increased speed of installation and reduced onsite construction work.

There are tremendous opportunities for SMR's across the globe. According to a feasibility study conducted by the National Nuclear Laboratory, there is an estimated global market of up to £400bn for energy that cannot, in all circumstances, be met by large scale nuclear reactors and so presents a real opportunity for SMRs.

Rethinking nuclear power

SMRs offer a truly innovative and effective solution to meeting global power needs.

Their modular design, coupled with the opportunity to produce the reactors centrally, means they bring a number of benefits to the world of low-carbon power that traditional nuclear power stations cannot offer.

A flexible solution to a global demand for power

Building on our global pedigree of more than half a century in the nuclear industry, Rolls-Royce is leading a consortium of companies in the UK’s largest-ever national engineering collaboration. The Rolls-Royce SMR Consortium brings together some of the most respected and innovative engineering organisations in the world. Rolls-Royce, ARUP, Laing O’Rourke, Nuvia and Wood Group all have a successful track record of delivering large-scale, complex engineering and infrastructure programmes.

Rolls-Royce already holds over 35 patents for elements of SMR technology and has decades of design, manufacture, delivery and operations experience. Using this already-proven technology and nuclear capability, we are developing a modular concept for nuclear technology that can be installed and commissioned quickly on site because it will be factory built and commissioned. Adoption of our modular approach will reduce cost and project risk by being faster to build. It will be a new way to generate electricity that will be available to the world.

With the first plant able to be up and running by 2030, the UK will remain at the forefront of nuclear power generation technology.

To view English / Welsh version, please click here