Six areas in the north of England, East Midlands and Wales are in the running to house Roll-Royce’s planned nuclear reactor factory.
Richmond in North Yorkshire, Deeside in Wales, Ferrybridge, Stallingborough in Lincolnshire, Sunderland and Carlisle are all contenders for the site which will lead on Government plans to launch 16 Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) in the next quarter century.
The aim is that these reactors will provide the UK with security of energy supply and ensure the achievement of the net-zero energy target by 2050.
Chief executive of Rolls-Royce Small Modular Reactor company Rolls-Royce SMR Tom Samson said the winning location would receive significant investment with the guarantee of long-term high-skilled jobs. And up to 40,000 jobs would be created within the company overall over the next three decades.
The firm said that while one SMR would power around 1 million homes, it would occupy the equivalent footprint of two football pitches - about a tenth of the size of a conventional nuclear plant.
The reactors come at a comparably smaller estimated cost, too: Their likely £2 billion bill means an SMR would cost around a tenth of the £20 billion earmarked for the larger plant under construction at Hinkley Point.
Each reactor would have the capacity to generate 470MW of power; equivalent to that produced by more than 150 onshore wind turbines.
The creation of the Rolls-Royce Small Modular Reactor (SMR) business was announced in November with a £195 million cash injection from private firms and a matching £210 million grant from the government.
Two more factories will be designed after the first site is underway, with both constructed and assembled at existing sites.