Collaboration for Rolls-Royce SMR deployment in the Netherlands

25 August 2022

Rolls-Royce SMR has signed an exclusive agreement with Dutch nuclear energy development company ULC-Energy BV to collaborate on the deployment of Rolls-Royce small modular reactor (SMR) power plants in the Netherlands.

A model of a Rolls-Royce SMR plant (Image: Rolls-Royce SMR)

ULC-Energy - established in 2021 and based in Amsterdam - aims to accelerate decarbonisation in the Netherlands by developing nuclear energy projects that efficiently integrate with residential and industrial energy networks in the country.

"ULC-Energy intends to develop nuclear projects deploying modern, state-of-the-art, modular reactors that are based on proven technology," Rolls-Royce SMR said. "The Rolls-Royce SMR has been selected by ULC-Energy as its SMR technology provider of choice."

It said that by signing the agreement, the two companies have "formalised their alignment and will be working closely together to advance application of this technology solution over coming years."

"This is an important and exciting step forward towards deploying Rolls-Royce SMRs in the Netherlands," said Rolls-Royce SMR CEO Tom Samson. "Working under the agreement with ULC-Energy, as a developer who will deploy our technology, we will pursue a range of opportunities to provide affordable low-carbon energy for domestic and industrial uses."

"Challenging energy market conditions, particularly in Western Europe, have clarified the importance of having reliable and affordable energy systems," said ULC-Energy founder and CEO Dirk Rabelink. "The Dutch government believes that nuclear can and should play a meaningful role in the Netherlands. The Rolls-Royce SMR is ideally suited for the Dutch market. At 470 MW, and with a capacity factor more than 95%, each unit makes a meaningful difference and can be deployed efficiently to either supply power to the grid, or supply power and heat to dedicated industrial users."

In December, the Netherlands' new coalition government placed nuclear power at the heart of its climate and energy policy. It said it would provide financial support to the goal of building new nuclear power plants. It outlined EUR50 million (USD50 million) for this in 2023, EUR200 million in 2024 and EUR250 million in 2025. It anticipated that cumulative support for new nuclear would reach EUR5 billion by 2030, while not assuming the power plants would be online by that time.

The Rolls-Royce SMR is a 470 MWe design based on a small pressurised water reactor. It will provide consistent baseload generation for at least 60 years. 90% of the SMR - about 16 metres by 4 metres - will be built in factory conditions, limiting on-site activity primarily to assembly of pre-fabricated, pre-tested, modules which significantly reduces project risk and has the potential to drastically shorten build schedules.

The design was accepted for Generic Design Assessment (GDA) review in March this year with the UK's Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy asking the UK's Office for Nuclear Regulation along with the environment regulators for England and Wales to begin the process.

Rolls-Royce SMR Chairman Paul Stein told the Reuters news agency in April that he hopes to get regulatory approval for the design by mid-2024, with the first unit producing power by 2029.

Rolls-Royce SMR said it will support international efforts to decarbonise energy systems, with a forecast to target GBP250 billion (USD295 billion) of exports. Memorandums of Understanding are already in place with Estonia, Turkey and the Czech Republic.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News