Posted: Sun 28th Apr 2024

Rolls-Royce scales back plans for Deeside small nuclear reactor parts factory

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales


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Rolls-Royce has revised its strategy for building factories in support of its small modular reactor (SMR) program in the UK.

Delays in a UK government design competition have forced them to abandon plans for one factory entirely, with implications for Deeside, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Originally, Rolls-Royce planned two separate factories: one for heavy pressure vessels, critical components for reactors, and another for assembling the modular units of the SMRs.

A shortlist for the pressure vessel factory included Deeside’s Gateway industrial park alongside locations in Sunderland and Redcar.

However, due to delays in the UK government’s SMR design competition, building the factory in time to meet their early 2030s target for the first SMRs is no longer feasible.

If successful the £100-£200m Deeside facility would have created more than 200 jobs.

Despite this setback, Rolls-Royce remains committed to the SMR program.

They will now source the pressure vessels from a qualified third-party supplier, potentially including Sheffield Forgemasters, which recently gained necessary qualifications for SMR components.

Encouragingly for Deeside, the news isn’t all negative.

Rolls-Royce is still proceeding with the second factory, dedicated to assembling the SMR modules.

Locations considered for the pressure vessel factory, including Deeside, remain contenders for this new facility.

On Friday, a spokesman for Rolls-Royce SMR confirmed the company had now “prioritised work on our modules assembly and test facility”, adding: “Our efforts are focused on identifying the best site to support our deployment at pace.”

A Government spokesman said: “Our world leading SMR competition aims to be the fastest of its kind, helping secure billions in investment for the UK, meaning cleaner, cheaper and more secure energy in the long-term.”

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