R-R's nuclear power plant ambitions
ROLLS-ROYCE is planning to use the expertise it has
developed in Derby to set up a new business developing nuclear
knowledge is power: The marine division in Raynesway, Derby
The firm believes that it could be a lucrative future
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It estimates that the worldwide market for nuclear energy
could be worth £50bn a year in 15 years' time.
Rolls-Royce has about 2,000 employees working in nuclear
power, the majority based in Derby.
It said the plans for the new civil nuclear business were
still in their infancy and that no decision had been taken
about where the unit would be based or whether new jobs would
Its marine division – known as Marine Power Operations – in
Raynesway, employs 1,400 people.
It specialises in developing nuclear reactor technology for
the Royal Navy's nuclear submarines programme.
Rolls-Royce chief executive Sir John Rose said: “Rolls-Royce
has been involved in the UK's nuclear industry for over 50
“Our experience is directly applicable to all phases of
new-build programmes that are planned in the UK and globally,
and to the upgrade of existing plants.
“Our capability is unique in the UK and matched by only a
handful of companies worldwide.
“The expansion of the civil nuclear market represents an
exciting opportunity which builds on our extensive nuclear
The new unit would support a number of the phases of a civil
nuclear programme, including providing advice to governments
and operators, technical engineering support and safety
assessments, manufacturing, procurement and support.
Rolls-Royce already has a nuclear presence in Europe and
America through its company, Data Systems and Solutions, which
has headquarters in America and UK offices in Sinfin Lane,
Derby, and Bristol.
DSS provides monitoring and safety systems to all of
France's 58 nuclear reactors. It also works with plants in the
Czech Republic and China.
But Rolls-Royce has stressed that the work that it does for
the Royal Navy's submarine programme in Derby will not be
Now would seem a good time for Rolls-Royce to make its
nuclear expertise available as Prime Minister Gordon Brown is
keen to increase the UK's nuclear power capacity as an
alternative to burning fossil fuels.
In January, ministers announced that they backed new plants
and published a review of possible sites where there have been
nuclear power plants before.
On Monday, the Government denied it had already drawn up a
list of sites for new nuclear power stations.
The Department for Business said the process was
In a statement, it says: “The Government has set out a clear
vision for nuclear new-build.
“Energy companies have been invited to bring forward
proposals for new nuclear power stations as part of the
solution to the UK's future low-carbon energy needs.”
The last nuclear power station to be built in the UK was
Sizewell B in Suffolk, which was erected between 1988 and 1995.
Rolls-Royce built some reactor parts for it.
Opponents of the plans say new reactors will be expensive,
dirty and dangerous.
Campaign group Greenpeace argues that research suggests that
even 10 new reactors would cut the UK's carbon emissions by
only about 4% by 2025.