Rolls-Royce SMR to set up a new testing facility at University of Sheffield AMRC

20 May 2024

Rolls-Royce SMR will manufacture and test prototype modules for its small modular reactors (SMRs) at a new facility being set up at the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC).

The £multi-million Module Development Facility, housed within the AMRC’s flagship Factory 2050 building in Sheffield, will produce working prototypes of the individual modules that will be assembled into Rolls-Royce SMR power plants.

The first phase, announced today, is worth £2.7 million and will be part of a wider £15+ million package of work that will further de-risk and underpin the Rolls-Royce SMR programme. The modular approach is unique within the nuclear industry but is widely used and well proven across the oil and gas and renewables sectors.

Victoria Scott, Rolls-Royce SMR’s Chief Manufacturing Engineer, said: “Our investment in setting up this facility and building prototype modules is another significant milestone for our business. 

“Our factories will produce hundreds of prefabricated and pre-tested modules ready for assembly on site. This facility will allow us to refine our production, testing and digital approach to manufacturing - helping de-risk our programme and ensure we increase our delivery certainty.”

Professor Harry Burroughes, head of Factory 2050 and professor of integrated manufacturing at the University of Sheffield AMRC, said: “Everyone within the AMRC is very proud and excited to be involved in this crucial next step with Rolls-Royce.

“Within the integrated manufacturing group, we have been research partners with Rolls-Royce SMR on modular builds since 2017, and this latest unique opportunity allows us to scale-up this fundamental research to full-scale products and processes.

“The new opportunity is a brilliant way to showcase how innovation can have a real-world manufacturing impact.”

The Rolls-Royce SMR is UK’s first home-grown nuclear technology for over a generation and today’s announcement is another vital step towards deploying a fleet of ‘factory-built’ nuclear power plants in the UK and around the globe. 

Rolls-Royce SMR offers a radically different approach to delivering new nuclear power based on proven technology. Each of the factory-built nuclear power stations will provide enough low-carbon electricity to power a million homes for more than 60 years. 

Professor Koen Lamberts, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: “We are very proud that Rolls-Royce SMR has chosen to base its Module Development Facility at our Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre’s Factory 2050. 

“Today’s announcement is a testament to the University’s strengths in clean energy research and innovation, and our unrivalled expertise in developing leading-edge manufacturing techniques. We welcome this significant commitment from Rolls-Royce SMR to our ongoing partnership and the South Yorkshire region.”  

South Yorkshire’s Mayor, Oliver Coppard, said: “This announcement cements South Yorkshire’s position as the leading place to build small modular reactors, a cutting-edge technology which will be a key part of the global transition to clean energy.  It is also a sign of real confidence in our region’s world-leading advanced manufacturing innovation district which is helping us to create a bigger and better economy in South Yorkshire 

“South Yorkshire is proud to be the home of the largest Clean Tech cluster in the UK, with specialisms in nuclear tech, hydrogen and aviation fuels. Being chosen as the home of the new Rolls-Royce SMR Module Development Facility further enhances our region’s reputation as the best place for Clean Tech in the UK and puts us at the forefront of creating a greener future for the UK and beyond.”

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