Prime Minister discusses nuclear power on trip to Rolls-Royce Bristol

25th March 2024


Rishi Sunak was also given a tour of the site and opened the company’s new FutureWorks facility.

The Prime Minister has spoken to the boss of Rolls-Royce about the aerospace giant’s nuclear capabilities on a visit to the company’s Bristol factory.

Rishi Sunak visited the site on Thursday (March 14) along with Jack Lopresti, MP for Filton and Bradley Stoke. The Prime Minister met with engineers, technicians and apprentices from across the firm’s defence programmes and had a tour of the operation facility.

He also spoke to Chris Cholerton, Rolls-Royce Group president, about the company’s small modular reactor (SMR) plans. SMRs are smaller nuclear power stations which are thought to be quicker and cheaper to construct than traditional nuclear plants.

“The Rolls-Royce small modular reactor (SMR) [is] the UK’s first domestic nuclear technology in more than 20 years that will provide a British solution to a global energy crisis,” said Mr Cholerton.

The news comes just days after Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced a major deal to buy a nuclear power station site in Gloucestershire during his Spring Budget speech.

New nuclear power stations are an important part of the government’s plans for generating secure low carbon energy. It has said access to nuclear sites is a critical factor in achieving its ambitions to generate a quarter of Britain’s energy from nuclear power by 2050.

Rolls-Royce is one of six companies vying for a government contract to develop SMRs in the UK. Great British Nuclear – the government-backed body driving forward nuclear projects across the country – will begin the next phase of the SMR selection process, with the companies involved having until June to submit their initial tender responses.

“We were delighted to welcome the UK Prime Minister and Jack Lopresti to our Bristol site,” added Mr Cholerton. “We also discussed leading-edge development in our micro-reactor technology to deploy power on both land and in space giving us the opportunity to explore Earth and beyond.”

During his visit, Mr Sunak also opened FutureWorks, a new facility where Rolls-Royce teams are developing technologies, advanced manufacturing and skills to improve existing fleets and power future capabilities.




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