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Mini Nuclear Power Stations Given Green Light

Britain’s first “private” nuclear power stations are to be built in Teesside, in north east England, using mini reactors.


Rendering of a Rolls-Royce mini reactor
Rendering of a Rolls-Royce mini reactor | Credit: Rolls-Royce

Four so-called small modular reactors (SMRs) will be installed on the north bank of the River Tees under the scheme - producing enough for up to two million homes - and for the first time in British history, the taxpayer is not involved. The aim is to have them running by the early 2030s.


Community Nuclear Power, the company behind the Teesside project, said it has reached an agreement with the US manufacturer Westinghouse to supply the reactors. Mini reactors, which are also being built by companies including Rolls-Royce - and aiming to charge around £1.8bn ($2.35bn) for each one - are being hailed as a way of generating cheap, clean power at scale.


The government’s nuclear roadmap, launched last month, talked up the prospects for SMRs, saying: “Unlike conventional nuclear reactors that are built on site, SMRs are smaller, can be made in factories, and could transform how power stations are built by making construction faster and less expensive."


Not only are SMRs cheaper and quicker to build than conventional nuclear plants, they are also touted as being able to produce energy at roughly half the price per megawatt.


Trade body the Nuclear Industry Association said that SMRs “can also play an essential role in enhancing British industrial capability, creating tens of thousands of jobs, revitalising the nuclear skills base and boosting the green economic recovery.”

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