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Rolls-Royce heads to Middle East as Saudi Arabia plots £74bn nuclear investment | Science | News


The British engineering firm’s small nuclear reactors (known as SMRs) are about the size of two football pitches. But they can power around half a million homes (a city the size of Leeds), are said to be much easier to build than traditional nuclear power plants. Chief executive of Rolls-Royce SMR Tom Samson said the company’s technology can support the clean energy ambitions of Middle East countries.

He also said SMRs can help power-hungry industrial units to decarbonise production as the world looks to meet net zero targets.

It comes as Rolls-Royce looks set to bring its SMR technology to the World Future Energy Summit.

This is a global conference showcasing green energy technology.

Mr Samson said the company is hoping to start talks with government representatives and large industrial in the Middle East.

He said “nuclear energy has a major role to play in “addressing the clean energy needs of any country”.

Mr Samson added that the company will be “looking to have those conversations when we come down to Abu Dhabi”.

He continued: “We are just beginning that journey and that is part of the reason to come to [WFES].”

And this comes as Saudi Arabia is reportedly exploring options of investing $100 billion (£73.55billion) in several nuclear plants with a combined capacity of 22 gigawatts.

The country plans to build 16 nuclear reactors by 2030.

It has already been looking at offers from four bidders – Deloitte, EY, HSBC, and PwC.

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It also needs time to build factories, certify its designs and move on to the production process.

Mr Samson told The National: “Those first units have the longer timeline.

“Once the factories are built, we can build two units a year and, as demand increases, we just simply build more factories.”

The units cost around £2billion to build.

Rolls-Royce SMR is looking to provide power generation options for “60 years on a cost-competitive basis”.

Mr Samson said it will build and deliver units to customers from its UK manufacturing centre.

And if demand exists in a particular region, it can set up factories there as well to start building the product locally.

In October, Express.co.uk spoke to Rolls-Royce CTO Paul Stein.

He said: “We think we have got one of the most competitive designs in the world for SMR and we’re very upbeat in the UK’s role in taking a big share of the global market.

“Our ambition is to get to a place where the consumer doesn’t see any price difference between net zero electricity and the electricity that they get today through fossil fuels. Nuclear is absolutely vital.”





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