A new business set up by Rolls-Royce to develop a new generation of mini-nuclear power stations has received an £85 million boost from the State of Qatar.
The emirate’s sovereign wealth fund – the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) – has signed a deal with the engineering giant to take a 10% stake in the Rolls-Royce Small Modular Reactor (SMR) business.
Rolls-Royce, which has its civil aerospace and defence divisions in Derby, wants the subsidiary to play a big part of the UK’s net zero agenda.
Roll-Royce chief executive Warren East said:
“I am tremendously pleased that we have further strengthened our relationship with Qatar, through QIA’s investment in the Rolls-Royce SMR business.
“We have successfully raised the capital we need to establish Rolls-Royce SMR and it is encouraging to confirm that the business is now set up to succeed.”
Rolls-Royce has said that a single mini power station could occupy around a tenth of the size of a conventional nuclear plant and generate enough power for around one million homes.
Its plans could create 40,000 UK jobs when fully operational by 2050 and generate £52 billion in economic benefit.
In December, Rolls-Royce announced it had agreed much of the funding to develop the low cost, low carbon, reactor – with that money coming from the Rolls-Royce parent group, BNF Resources UK and Exelon Generation.
The consortium behind the plans – which includes Laing O’Rourke, the National Nuclear Laboratory and the Nuclear AMRC – has now secured a total of £490 million through commercial equity and through UK Research and Innovation grant funding.
It has started identifying sites for factories to make the modules for on-site assembly of the plants, with up to 80% of the components made in factories in the Midlands and North of England.
Reacting to the investment from Qatar, Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said:
“This investment is a clear vote of confidence in the UK’s global leadership in nuclear innovation and follows the £210 million of Government investment in the development in small modular reactors.
“It represents a huge step forward in our plan to deploy more home-grown, affordable clean energy – ensuring greater energy independence for the UK, highly skilled jobs and bringing cheaper, cleaner electricity to people’s homes.”
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