Rolls Royce will collaborate with French nuclear specialist Areva to construct a series of nuclear power plants in the UK, the first to be built for 20 years.
Along with construction firm Balford Beatty, Rolls Royce will help to build European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs) which could have the capacity to generate 20 to 25 gigawatts of nuclear power over 25 years.
Balford Beatty constructed several nuclear plants in the 1970’s and 80’s including Sellafield and Torness.
Rolls Royce has been involved with the UK’s nuclear development for 50 years, designing, manufacturing and supporting technology for the Royal Navy, so they will supply reactor parts and engineering skills to the programme. The partnership is set to create 10 – 15,000 jobs, of which around 5,000 will be for engineers.
Mike O’Brien is the Minister at the Department of Energy and Climate Change. He said in a statement yesterday: “This is good news. It represents a vote of confidence by Areva in the UK’s new nuclear market and a vote of confidence in the UK supply chain. This is the welcome face of low carbon energy we’ll see more and more over the coming decades, opening up enormous potential for UK plc at home and globally.”
The first EPR will be operational in 2017, on one of eight sites owned by the UK’s nuclear generator British Energy. George Lowe, president of Civil Nuclear, said: “I am delighted that Rolls Royce and Areva have agreed this important memorandum of understanding.
“Rolls Royce has significant and growing capabilities in the civil nuclear sector which place us in a strong position to work on new nuclear programmes as they develop in the UK and across the world. Working with Areva on EPR projects is a key element of this strategy.”