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[Slashdot] - Rolls-Royce Gets Funding To Develop Mini Nuclear Reactors


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PolygamousRanchKid shares a report from the BBC: Rolls-Royce has been backed by a consortium of private investors and the UK government to develop small nuclear reactors to generate cleaner energy. The creation of the Rolls-Royce Small Modular Reactor (SMR) business was announced following a [195 million pound] cash injection from private firms and a [210 million pound] grant from the government. It is hoped the new company could create up to 40,000 jobs by 2050. However, critics say the focus should be on renewable power, not new nuclear. Rolls-Royce SMR said one of its power stations would occupy about one tenth of the size of a conventional nuclear plant -- the equivalent footprint of two football pitches -- and power approximately one million homes. The firm said a plant would have the capacity to generate 470MW of power, which it added would be the same produced by more than 150 onshore wind turbines. Warren East, Rolls-Royce chief executive, said the company's SMR technology offered a "clean energy solution" which help tackle climate change. However, Paul Dorfman, chairman of the Nuclear Consulting Group think tank, told the BBC's Today program there was danger that the money spent on nuclear power would hit funding for other power sources. "If nuclear eats all the pies which it is looking to be doing we won't have enough money to do the kind of things we need to do which we know practically and technologically we can do now," he said. Greenpeace's chief scientist Dr Doug Parr said SMRs were still more expensive than renewable technologies and added there was "still no solution to dispose of the radioactive waste they leave behind and no consensus on where they should be located." "What's worse, there's not even a prototype in prospect anytime soon," he added. "The immediate deadline for action is sharp cuts in emissions by 2030, and small reactors will have no role in that."

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