Facility to demonstrate Rolls-Royce SMR module production

20 May 2024

Rolls-Royce SMR has announced plans for a facility in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK, to manufacture and test prototype modules for its small modular reactors.

Rolls-Royce SMR factories will produce hundreds of prefabricated and pre-tested modules ready for assembly on site into a complete nuclear power plant (Image: Rolls-Royce SMR)

The first phase of the Rolls-Royce SMR Module Development Facility - to be housed within University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre's existing Factory 2050 facilities - is worth GBP2.7 million (USD3.4 million). Rolls-Royce SMR said it will be part of a wider package of work worth more than GBP15 million that will "further de-risk and underpin" its SMR programme.

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

Koen Lamberts, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, added: "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."

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.

Rolls-Royce SMR has received UK government funding of GBP210 million as part of Phase 2 of the Low-Cost Nuclear Challenge Project, administered by UK Research and Innovation, which has been supplemented by GBP280 million 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 Generic Design Assessment regulatory process carried out by the nuclear industry's independent regulators: the Office for Nuclear Regulation, the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales.

It is one of six SMR designs selected in October by Great British Nuclear on a shortlist for the UK's SMR selection competition. The aim is for a final investment decision to be taken in 2029.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News