Kingmoor Park would house the factory should Carlisle win. Credit: via Cumbria LEP

Carlisle and Deeside make Rolls-Royce SMR shortlist

The engineering giant’s nuclear division is seeking a site to manufacture the main elements of its proposed small modular reactor power station.

Carlisle and Deeside, which has proposed the Gateway development zone, face competition from Sunderland, County Durham, Richmond, Ferrybridge and Lincolnshire to house the “heavy vessels” factory site.

The chosen location will house the first of three factories plotted by Rolls-Royce SMR, and will be the largest and most complex facility, the company said.

More than 100 site suggestion submissions were made by Local Enterprise Partnerships and development agencies.

Construction will begin once Rolls-Royce SMR receives the go-ahead to build a fleet of SMRs in the UK.

Rolls-Royce SMR chief executive Tom Samson said: “The response was fantastic and shows the ambition and appetite of the UK to build and operate a fleet of SMRs which will provide affordable, low-carbon electricity for generations to come.

“The final location will come from the shortlist and will result in significant investment, long-term high-skilled jobs and will support the UK Government’s aspirations for levelling-up. Today’s announcement is another example of the pace of our project and why Rolls-Royce SMR is the UK’s domestic nuclear energy champion.”

The firm said that its approach is a “completely different way of building nuclear power stations,” with 90% of the Rolls-Royce SMR built in factory conditions to reduce timescales and project risk.

Supporting the first site, the other two factories will manufacture civils modules and mechanical electrical and plumbing (MEP) modules – which will be transported to sites and assembled into a nuclear power station that will generate 470MW of low-carbon electricity.

These locations will be selected from the full list of submissions.

Should Carlisle emerge as the winner, the facility would be built at Kingmoor Park. Managing director Neil McIntyre said: “Cumbria has an incredible nuclear legacy and we’re really excited about our region being at the forefront of nuclear innovation.

“The Rolls Royce SMR team has been actively exploring locations in Cumbria for their first, revolutionary power plant. It’s another positive step that Kingmoor Park in Carlisle is also now in the running to host the factory where the main components for the power stations will be manufactured.”

Jo Lappin, chief executive at the Cumbria LEP, said: “Rolls Royce SMR’s decision confirms Cumbria’s standing as a place that has the natural assets, people, skills and knowledge to get these essential low carbon projects underway at pace.

“Securing the facility would help move forward Cumbria’s clean energy generation ambitions and create long-term and high-quality jobs and supply chain opportunities. The LEP will work closely with colleagues in Kingmoor Park to present a highly persuasive case to bring the facility to Carlisle.”

The other specific sites in the running are IAMP Sunderland, Forrest Park in Newton Aycliffe, Catterick 53 in Richmond, and Pioneer Park in Stallingborough.

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