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Rolls-Royce steps up to save Britain and cripple Putin's energy grip: 'We are ready'


The Prime Minister met with nuclear giants on Monday to discuss how the UK can boost its energy security amid Putin’s war with Ukraine. Rolls-Royce, one of the industry figures present at Mr Johnson’s meeting, told Express.co.uk it has a key role to play in helping Britain accelerate the roll-out of the clean energy source.

Tom Samson, Rolls-Royce’s CEO, said: “I was delighted to speak with the Prime Minister about the potential for Rolls-Royce SMR Ltd – the UK’s domestic nuclear technology champion – to help deliver secure supplies of low-cost energy to customers, in line with the forthcoming Energy Security Strategy.

“We are ready to deliver in the UK and overseas, working in parallel on siting and funding to ensure power from Rolls-Royce SMRs is online as close to 2030 as possible.”

This comes as Britain has committed to scuppering its energy ties with Putin, with Mr Johnson pledging to phase out Russian oil imports by the end of the year.

Mr Johnson has suggested the West can end its “addiction” to Putin’s hydrocarbons by boosting its energy independence, with a plan for Britain to receive up to 25 percent of its electricity from nuclear power.

And Rolls-Royce can help with its small modular reactors (SMRs), which are around the size of two football pitches but can power around half a million homes, equivalent to a city the size of Leeds.

Traditional nuclear power has a range of major drawbacks like the cost and time it takes to build them.

But SMRs are cheaper and easier to deploy than regular nuclear power, it is no surprise the technology has piqued the interest of a number of states.

Rolls-Royce has already secured a £500million cash injection to help build the technology.

The funding came from Qatar, the owners of French oil giant Perenco, US company Exelon Generation and a £210million contribution from the Government.

The plan to put this technology on the market has taken a step forward after Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng called on Government regulators to assess the designs of the product.

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“We are ready to deliver in the UK and overseas, working in parallel on siting and funding to ensure power from Rolls-Royce SMRs is online as close to 2030 as possible.”

This comes as Britain has committed to scuppering its energy ties with Putin, with Mr Johnson pledging to phase out Russian oil imports by the end of the year.

Mr Johnson has suggested the West can end its “addiction” to Putin’s hydrocarbons by boosting its energy independence, with a plan for Britain to receive up to 25 percent of its electricity from nuclear power.

And Rolls-Royce can help with its small modular reactors (SMRs), which are around the size of two football pitches but can power around half a million homes, equivalent to a city the size of Leeds.

Traditional nuclear power has a range of major drawbacks like the cost and time it takes to build them.

The company is hoping to develop a reactor that can mainly be manufactured in a factory, mass-producing them to help dramatically slash the development cost and make the innovations cheaper and more flexible.

The SMRs are now poised to begin the generic design assessment process, which Mr Kwarteng has called a “significant step in bringing SMRs into existence”.

He added: “We’re proud to back Rolls’ plan with an initial £210m to develop their design.”

This comes after the Government came under fire for the slow pace of the deployment of nuclear projects, while several key projects have already shut down or will be abandoned soon.

Hunterston B in Scotland shut down earlier this year, while Hinkley Point B in Somerset is scheduled to be closed later this year.

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But Mr Johnson’s meeting executives from major nuclear utilities and technology companies on Monday, which also included France’s EDF, and the Westinghouse and Bechtel from the US aimed to address this.

Tom Greatrex, the chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA), said: “Accelerating nuclear projects is absolutely essential to keep energy costs down, cut expensive gas imports and strengthen our energy security as we move towards net zero.

“That means urgently investing in a fleet of large and small nuclear stations, alongside renewable investment, to deliver the clean, sovereign power we need.”



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