Britain’s first private nuclear power station is to be built in Teesside using small modular reactors which were championed by Boris Johnson.
Four small modular reactors (SMRs) will initially be built on the north bank of the River Tees producing 1.5 gigawatts of power which is enough to power two million British homes.
Small nuclear reactors, which are also being built by companies such as Rolls-Royce, were championed by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson as a way of generating clean low-cost energy at scale.
SMRs are smaller versions of conventional water-cooled nuclear reactors. Designs come in different sizes but have power output roughly a fifth to a third of the larger and more traditional reactors at Hinkley Point C which is currently under construction in Somerset. Sizewell C is also currently being planned for the Suffolk coast.
According to Community Nuclear Power the company behind the Teesside project, the Teesside SMRs should be running by the early 2030s, meaning the power station should be in operation before both Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C.
Former PM Boris Johnson, passionate about harnessing the power of nuclear energy said: “Nuclear power is a key part of the UK’s energy mix, helping to reduce dependence on global gas markets, boosting UK energy independence, protecting consumers from high energy bills and stimulating investment in nuclear as a clean energy technology of the future.”
At a speech he made as Sizewell in 2022, Mr Johnson famously said “I say go nuclear and go large.”
Community Nuclear Power has this week announced an agreement with Westinghouse Electric Company to supply the Teesside reactors.
The project is in accordance with the recently published UK Government Alternative Routes to Market for New Nuclear Projects consultation and complementary to and supportive of Westinghouse’s participation in Great British Nuclear’s (GBN) SMR technology selection process. This collaboration will further expand scale for workforce, training and supply chain localisation via multiple deployment projects.
Paul Foster, Community Nuclear Power’s CEO said:
“This project brings together Westinghouse’s proven technology and mature supply chain with our depth of expertise in nuclear programme delivery, in a region that is transforming its industrial landscape. We are delighted to be working with Westinghouse in support of private deployment in North Teesside.
David Durham, Westinghouse President, Energy Systems added:
“We want to thank Community Nuclear Power for this tremendous opportunity to deliver our advanced, proven AP300 SMR technology to the U.K. market.
“Our AP300 SMR is ideally suited not just to support grid generation, but also for industrial sites for generating clean and secure energy and the ability to produce hydrogen, e-fuels, desalination and district heating.”
The UK government believes that SMRs could play an important role alongside large nuclear as a low-carbon energy source to support a secure, affordable decarbonised energy system. They can be easily manufactured away from the sites where they are used and deployed where needed and could be a transformative technology for the UK’s industrial heartlands.
Mayor of the Tees Valley Ben Houchen said:
“Incredible news that the first privately funded SMRs will be built here in Teeside. Teeside is the UK centre for green industry and jobs, and it’s great to welcome another investment.”
Main Photo: Then Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Tom Samson, Chief Executive Officer of Rolls Royce look at a model of a Rolls Royce Nuclear Power plant after attending a roundtable meeting with leading figures from the Nuclear Energy in 2022. Picture by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED