Rolls-Royce and Škoda JS to collaborate on SMR deployment

06 September 2022

Rolls-Royce SMR of the UK has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Škoda JS to explore areas of collaboration for the Rolls-Royce small modular reactor (SMR) plant, for deployment both in the Czech Republic and broader central European regions.

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

Under the MoU, both companies will work together to understand how the capabilities Škoda JS possess, in the areas of nuclear engineering and manufacturing, can support the efficient deployment of Rolls-Royce SMR power plants across Europe.

"As a factory-manufactured product - with 90% of the entire Rolls-Royce SMR power plant built in factory conditions - having the right partners in key locations around the world is an important aspect of our international delivery model," said Rolls-Royce SMR Business Development and Strategy Director Alan Woods. "We see a tremendous opportunity to develop international strategic supply chain partners from whom we can benefit from their decades of ongoing manufacturing knowledge. We are pleased to be discussing these opportunities with such a capable supplier as Škoda JS."

Škoda JS specialises in the production of pressurised water reactors (PWRs) and critical components including reactor pressure vessels (RPVs), RPV internals, control rod drive mechanisms and safety control systems - supported by broader engineering design, calculation and analytical support services.

"SMR is a logical route the nuclear industry is taking to make nuclear energy more accessible and affordable in the immediate future," said Škoda JS Commercial Director Milos Mostecky. "Our shops in Pilsen were originally designed to produce the components for 440MW reactors. The potential for utilisation of our engineering, manufacturing and maintenance capabilities and know-how for SMR projects in Europe is, therefore, significant."

The Rolls-Royce SMR is a 470 MWe design based on a small PWR. 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 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.

In November 2020, Rolls-Royce and Czech utility ČEZ signed a Memorandum of Understanding to explore the potential for small modular reactors in the Czech Republic. In June this year ČEZ bought Škoda JS.

Last month, Rolls-Royce SMR signed an exclusive agreement with Dutch nuclear energy development company ULC-Energy BV to collaborate on the deployment of Rolls-Royce SMR power plants in the Netherlands.

Rolls-Royce SMR also has MoUs in place with Estonia and Turkey.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News