Sunday 2 October 2016 7:11 pm

Rolls-Royce ramps up efforts to build mini-nuclear power plants

Rolls-Royce has ramped up its efforts to build a fleet of small nuclear power stations as the next stage of a government competition draws closer.

City A.M. understands that 30 employees from its Trident submarine work are now checking work that’s already been done on the company’s blueprint for the Small Modular Reactors (SMRs).

The Sunday Times first reported the news.

It comes as the government's Successor programme, which will replace the UK's four nuclear submarines with newer models, moves from the design to the manufacturing stage.

Read more: Rolls-Royce shortlisted to build fleet of baby nuclear reactors

A Rolls-Royce spokesperson said: "As we look to grow our nuclear business we have been able to allocate people to different projects to serve our business needs and offer development opportunities.

"Delivering upon our commitments to the government for the successor programme is our number one priority and is never compromised."

The government launched a competition to identify the best value SMR design for the UK last year. 

Ministers believe SMRs could increase the UK's energy security and eventually become a leading export. However, the technology faces hurdles such as safety and security, financing as well as design approval.

Read more: Sheffield Forgemasters to help develop UK's fleet of baby nuclear reactors

There are 33 companies currently competing and a winner could be announced in the coming months.

The department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has said it will publish a roadmap "for one or more possible pathways for SMRs" in the Autumn.