A nine-member consortium is planning to construct up to 16 small modular reactor, or SMR, nuclear plants in the U.K. by 2050, the Financial Times reported, as part of a potential project that may receive £1.5 billion to £2 billion of financial support from the U.K. government.
The consortium, which includes Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC, Laing O'Rourke Infrastructure Ltd, Atkins and the National Nuclear Laboratory, also plans to ask for additional funding of at least £2 billion from private investors and the capital markets.
The proposed construction of SMRs will help the U.K. reach its carbon emission targets while meeting energy demands.
Discussions are still ongoing and any final decision will be subject to the U.K. Treasury's current multiyear spending review, which is due later this year, according to the FT.
Each of the proposed SMRs would operate for up to 60 years and would generate 440 MW of power yearly. The first SMR is estimated to cost £2.2 billion and to start operations by 2029. After five units are built, the costs are expected to decrease to about £1.8 billion each.
The consortium is expected to finalize the SMR design and to launch the four-year licensing process by April 2021.