Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC (LON: RR) continues to expand its presence in the energy landscape and has partnered with the leading nuclear energy firm Westinghouse Electric Company UK Ltd. to support the development of a fuel design for small modular reactors (SMRs).
Last week, the companies said that Rolls-Royce SMR will work with Westinghouse Electric –majorly owned by Brookfield Business Partners (NYSE: BBU)– to develop the design which will be based on an existing pressurized water reactor fuel assembly design.
The collaboration will involve experts based in the United Kingdom and the United States.
Westinghouse is the supplier of fuel across different types of nuclear reactors including pressurized, boiling water reactors, as well as advanced gas-cooled reactors.
“Placing the contract to design the fuel for the Rolls-Royce SMR is an important step in our programme of work as we progress through the generic design assessment (GDA) process with the UK’s nuclear regulators,” Rolls-Royce SMR’s Regulatory Affairs and Safety Director Helena Perry said in a statement.
“Westinghouse has a strong heritage and unrivalled experience in nuclear fuel design and manufacturing,” Perry added.
“Placing this contract with Westinghouse will help deliver our commitment to maximize UK supply chain content and will support a long-term sustainable future for the nuclear industry.”
The company said the contract supports the recent Atlantic Declaration and civil nuclear partnership last June between the United Kingdom and the United States. The partnership helps facilitate the international deployment of advanced nuclear technologies.
Rolls Royce stock stood at £205.68 after dropping a slight 1.02 per cent on the London Stock Exchange.
— Westinghouse Nuclear (@WECNuclear) October 18, 2023
In July, Westinghouse received three government grants to upgrade and expand its Springfields fuel fabrication facility to support Britain’s next-generation nuclear reactors.
The Westinghouse Springfields site has been the sole nuclear fuel manufacturer in the U.K. for nearly 75 years. It plays a vital role in supporting carbon-free secure power generation worldwide. So far, it has helped cut more than 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions from the country’s energy mix.
Springfields fuel is also responsible for about 32 per cent of Britain’s low-carbon electricity generation.
“This collaboration between Westinghouse and Rolls-Royce SMR will help drive the future of nuclear fuel deployment. Westinghouse is proud to bring its generations of experience designing and manufacturing fuel in the U.K.,” said Tarik Choho, Westinghouse President of Nuclear Fuel.
“This contract presents an exciting opportunity for our Springfields site in Lancashire.”
Small modular reactor market to reach $6.8 billion by 2023
A recent report by the analytics firm Research and Markets showed that the global small modular reactor market is estimated to grow to US$6.8 billion by 2030 from an estimated US$5.8 billion in 2023; it is expected to record a compound annual rate (CAGR) of 2.3 per cent.
The SMR market is experiencing growth driven by increased investment in industrial production. According to the International Energy Agency, nuclear energy accounted for approximately 10 per cent of the global electricity generation mix in 2021.
Small Modular Reactors are gaining prominence because of their scalability and flexibility, making them suitable for a wide range of applications, from electricity generation to industrial processes and even desalination.
These reactors rely on a critical component for their operation: uranium fuel. Uranium is of paramount importance in the context of SMRs as it serves as the energy source for the nuclear fission process.
ATHA Energy Corp. (CSE: SASK) (FRA: X5U) (OTC: SASKF), a Canadian company, is strategically positioned to be a part of this expanding uranium sector.
The company owns the largest cumulative exploration package within the Athabasca Basin –the second-largest source of uranium worldwide– covering a vast 3.4 million acres. The company recently completed one of the largest electromagnetic surveys in the area.
ATHA Energy Corp. is a sponsor of Mugglehead News coverage