Rolls-Royce Is Building Tiny Nuclear Reactors

Lil Nuke

Rolls-Royce doesn’t just manufacture luxurious cars — it’s also involved in futuristic projects ranging from electric planes to laser weapon systems.

Now, the company is eyeing two sites for tiny nuclear power stations it calls “small modular reactors,” Popular Mechanics reports, in Wales and northern England — a program the UK government committed to funding in July 2019.

Mega What

The planned nuclear reactors are just a tenth the size of traditional nuclear reactors and are much easier and far quicker to build as well, the company promises. The new reactors take just four years to build, while the shortest build time of UK’s previous reactors was eight years, according to Popular Mechanics.

Rolls-Royce says each station will provide 440 megawatts of electricity — roughly three quarters what a traditional reactor generates — but in a much smaller footprint.

Future Shock

The UK is currently working to shut down its existing nuclear plants thanks to aging infrastructure and renewed safety concerns, with the goal to close the last one by 2030.

But prime minister Boris Johnson stands firmly behind a nuclear future.

“It is time for a nuclear renaissance and I believe passionately that nuclear must be part of our energy mix,” he said in July during his first day in the House of Commons.

READ MORE: These Tiny Nuclear Power Stations Could Be, Well, Huge [Popular Mechanics]

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