Hartlepool ‘should be first to get a Rolls-Royce mini nuclear reactor’

Hartlepool can be a northern powerhouse with a Rolls-Royce mini nuclear reactor, says mayor

Hartlepool should be one of the first places to get a Rolls-Royce mini nuclear reactor, Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen has said.

He said that it would be a ‘no-brainer’ for one of the Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) to be built in the area.

Engineer Rolls is leading the project – alongside BNF Resources and Exelon Generation – to design and roll out SMRs on existing nuclear sites by the early 2030s. 

Funding: Rolls-Royce is leading the project to design and roll out Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) on existing nuclear sites by the early 2030s. Pictured: An artist’s impression of an SMR

Each will be around the size of two football pitches – a tenth of the size of a normal station – powering 1m homes.

Ministers threw their weight behind the plans this week and pledged to hand the project £210million over the next three years if the companies also make investments.

Houchen said Teesside would be a good fit. The Conservative mayor said: ‘Teesside is helping to drive forward some of the welding technologies that make SMRs possible, developing them right here in Middlesbrough. 

‘We know this inside out and back to front and, what’s more, our local people have the skills to deliver it.

‘We would welcome Rolls-Royce’s project just as we’d work with any company looking to bring good-quality jobs and investment in the cleaner, safer and healthier industries of the future to Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.’

The area is a significant UK industrial hub, with vast steelworks, engineering and other manufacturing sites. 

It is one of several areas to have been awarded freeport status, which is estimated to bring in 18,000 high-skilled jobs to the area.

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