Rolls-Royce receives ‘billions of pounds’ in orders for mini-nuclear plants from Eastern European countries
Rolls-Royce is on the brink of taking ‘billions of pounds’ in orders for mini-nuclear power plants from Eastern European countries, the boss of a major investor has said.
A consortium led by the tech giant has secured £210 million in funding from private investors for its small modular reactor (SMR) program in the UK.
That is set to release the same amount of government funding, allowing Rolls-Royce to jump-start the project. An announcement is expected soon, and green investment fund IP3 said a government approval should pave the way for exporting the technology to other countries.
A good sign: Green investment fund IP3 said government approval should pave the way for exporting the technology to other countries
IP3 has polled pension funds and institutional investors about putting money into a multi-billion pound fund to invest in small nuclear infrastructure.
It also advises energy suppliers and governments on the development of nuclear energy projects.
IP3 chief executive Mike Hewitt, a retired US Navy Rear Admiral, told The Mail on Sunday that Eastern European countries — including Poland, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Hungary, Estonia and Bulgaria — are developing “aggressive plans” for nuclear power.
He said Rolls-Royce’s project was “one of the frontrunners”, adding: “Rolls-Royce is uniquely positioned as a British brand name company accustomed to a factory approach to eradicating aircraft engines. If the UK agrees to allow the construction of the first three or four reactors, you can go into production, then it will be in an excellent position to be the reactor of choice for other countries.’
IP3 advises the major Polish energy supplier ZE PAK on the development of a plan for nuclear power plants.
Rolls-Royce said it was in talks with interested parties about “export opportunities around the world, including in Europe.”
The investment consortium aims to build a fleet of 16 factory-built reactors by 2035 to complement larger power plants. IP3 hopes the consortium can contribute hundreds of millions of pounds more in taxpayers’ money to take the project through the design and regulatory assessment phase and into production.
The gas bill crisis has sharpened the focus on nuclear investment to build the UK’s energy supply and complement renewables, as Britain aims to reach net zero carbon by 2050. should be taken offline by 2030.
Nuclear industry sources warned that Rolls’ program is still in its infancy compared to technology being developed in the Americas and China. Several locations in the UK have been suggested for the SMRs, including Copeland in Cumbria.
Hewitt said: “We are very confident that we can come in and attract outside capital to invest in these projects if the government brings in the equity required to launch the project and mitigate risk.
The Prime Minister has a plan to boost Britain’s green energy and nuclear SMRs are an important part of that. There are many pension funds, institutional investors and sovereign wealth funds that want to support nuclear hybrid systems.’
Government support for the SMR program would further boost Rolls-Royce, which has finally sold its Spanish company, ITP Aero, for £1.5bn as it tries to slim down. It also signed a £1.9 billion deal to supply parts for the United States Air Force’s fleet of B-52 bombers into the 2050s.
Shares are up 35 percent in the past two weeks to £1.42, boosted in part by optimism that long-haul travel is returning – a key revenue stream for Rolls-Royce.
Meanwhile, new chairman Anita Frew took charge last week and is under pressure from US activist investor Causeway Capital to refresh its board.