Plea to resupply Caithness with new nuclear weapons as Rolls-Royce was told by MP Jamie Stone to look north
Caithness should be considered as the location for a small modular reactor similar to the one pictured, according to leading figures in the far north.
According to local representatives from politics, trade unions and companies, Caithness should be considered as a location for a new type of nuclear reactor.
Far North MP Jamie Stone wants Rolls-Royce, which has long been linked to the Vulcan nuclear submarine site near Dounreay, to see the county as a possible site for a small modular reactor (SMR ) includes.
The company is developing a new technology to deliver affordable, low-carbon nuclear power. The new reactor will be about a tenth the size of a conventional reactor and should be more economical to manufacture and easier to build.
The design is believed to have benefited from the experience gained from manufacturing and operating pressurized water reactors that have been tested at Vulcan over the years.
Mr Stone, Liberal Democrat MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, said: “I urge Rolls Royce to consider Caithness as a potential location and I will say so when I get an opportunity in the House of Commons. It would be great if the company could do this job in Caithness.
“We have the skills, we have suitable locations, we have transport links and, above all, a local population who are familiar with the nuclear industry and would welcome such an initiative from Rolls-Royce.”
Rep. Jamie Stone promised to take the appeal up in the House of Commons.
Davie Alexander, vice chairman of the Dounreay Stakeholder Group and chairman of the Thurso and Wick Trades Union Council, would also like to see the county as a possible location for a small modular reactor.
He said: “It would be nice to think that at least our area is eligible for such a project.
“A few months ago there was disappointment when an offer for the location of a new generation fusion reactor” [in Caithness] was not shortlisted as a potential location.
“The offer we have put together has shown the many advantages that the area could bring to such a project. The capabilities and infrastructure available in the area could also be considered for SMR development.
“Given the overview of the Dounreay and Vulcan sites, all potential opportunities should and will be considered by the appropriate community agencies.”
But Mr. Alexander acknowledged that the logistics and political beliefs could be “a major stumbling block to such a development”.
Eann Sinclair, Caithness and Sutherland Area Manager for Highlands and Islands Enterprise, also believes the small modular reactors could be placed here.
“The SMRs need to be on the table for us,” he said. “If there is a more skillful place in the country I don’t know where it is. I really hope we will be considered. While there are broader political questions to be answered, this could be an economic opportunity for the region and “we would like to be part of it.”
HIE’s Eann Sinclair believes the area has the right skills.
Their comments came after the Rolls-Royce Group announced that the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) is investing £ 85 million in Rolls-Royce SMR Limited and that BNF Resources UK Ltd will invest 10 percent of the equity.
Warren East, Chairman of the Rolls-Royce Group, said, “We have successfully raised the capital we need to start Rolls-Royce SMR and it is encouraging to confirm that the business is now in good shape.”
The new company has raised £ 490 million through commercial equity and UK research and innovation funding.
The company previously announced that it plans to complete its first reactor in the early 2030s and build 10 by 2035. The SMRs are said to have an output of 470 megawatts, which supposedly could supply up to a million households.
The development of small modular reactors is at the heart of the UK government’s 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution.