The company has announced a shortlist of locations it is looking at as a potential base for a ‘heavy craft’ construction plant for its small modular reactor (SMR) power station which will be based in North Wales or Cumbria.
Other sites shortlisted for the manufacturing site are Catterick in North Yorkshire, Grimsby and Stallingborough in Lincolnshire, and Newton Aycliffe and Sunderland in the North East.
A site at Carlisle in Cumbria and one at Deeside in Wales are also on the list.
The plant will be the size of three football pitches, worth between £100m and £200m and is expected to create more than 200 permanent jobs.
It will power a Rolls-Royce SMR power plant which will have the capacity to generate 470MW of low-carbon energy, the equivalent of more than 150 onshore wind turbines and enough to power one million homes.
It will provide consistent base load generation for at least 60 years, helping to support the deployment of renewable energy generation and overcome intermittency issues.
Two other manufacturing plants to supply the power plant will also be needed, but the “heavy craft” site will be the largest and most complex facility. Vessels are required for some parts of the process, such as acting as a containment unit for the reactor core.
Construction of the new factor will begin once Rolls-Royce SMR is given the green light to build a fleet of SMRs in the UK.
The shortlist was selected based on a clear set of criteria, chosen from over 100 submissions from Local Business Partnerships (LEPs) and development agencies.
Rolls-Royce SMR Managing Director Tom Samson said: “I would like to thank everyone who submitted a submission suggesting locations in their area for the first Rolls-Royce SMR factory.
“The response has been fantastic and shows the UK’s ambition and appetite to build and operate a fleet of SMRs that will provide affordable, low-carbon electricity for generations to come.
“The final location will come from the shortlist and will result in significant investment, long-term high-skilled jobs and support the UK government’s aspirations to level up. Today’s announcement is another example of the pace of our project and why Rolls-Royce SMR is the UK’s National Nuclear Power Champion.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “This is fantastic news for Sunderland, North Yorkshire, Deeside, Lincolnshire and Carlisle who, if these SMRs go ahead, could be at the forefront of the component manufacturing for this British made technology.
“Backed by £210m, SMRs have the potential to deliver faster and cheaper low-carbon nuclear power, and today’s announcement underscores the potential for new jobs being created across the country. by adopting this new technology.”
Rolls-Royce says the company’s approach to SMR is a “completely different way of building nuclear power plants”, where 90% of Rolls-Royce SMRs are built in factory conditions, dramatically reducing lead times and project risks.
The other two plants will manufacture civilian modules and mechanical-electrical-plumbing (MEP) modules – which will be transported to sites and assembled in a nuclear power plant that will produce 470 MW of low-carbon electricity. These locations will be chosen from the full list of submissions.