Constellation to help Dutch Rolls-Royce SMR deployment

15 September 2022

Dutch nuclear energy development company ULC-Energy BV has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with US utility Constellation to support the deployment of a fleet of Rolls-Royce small modular reactors (SMRs) in the Netherlands.

A rendering of a Rolls-Royce SMR (Image: Rolls-Royce SMR)

Constellation - which is a minority shareholder in Rolls-Royce SMR Limited - operates 21 reactors at 12 nuclear power plant sites in the USA.

In November 2020, Rolls-Royce and US utility Exelon Generation signed an MoU to pursue the potential for Exelon to operate SMRs both in the UK and internationally. Earlier this year, Exelon Generation separated its regulated utility and competitive energy businesses. Exelon became the USA's largest transmission and distribution utility serving some 10 million customers across seven different regulatory jurisdictions. Its competitive energy business was named Constellation - the same name as the company which Exelon merged with in 2012 - which became the largest producer of carbon-free electricity in the country.

"Constellation is committed to a carbon-free future and has for many years supported nuclear developers in the United States and internationally," said Ralph Hunter, president of Constellation Generation Development LLC. "The Constellation Nuclear Management Model is widely regarded within the industry as a benchmark for world-class nuclear power operations, and we are excited with the opportunity to work with both ULC-Energy and Rolls-Royce SMR to ensure the safe and reliable development and operation of Rolls-Royce SMRs in the Netherlands."

"Constellation will bring deep operational experience to ULC-Energy allowing ULC-Energy to deliver a complete offering to its stakeholders in the Netherlands," added ULC-Energy Managing Director Dirk Rabelink. "Having worked closely with Constellation, and its predecessor Exelon Generation since 2005, I am confident that our cooperation will be fruitful."

Last month, Rolls-Royce SMR signed an exclusive agreement with ULC-Energy to collaborate on the deployment of Rolls-Royce SMR power plants in the Netherlands.

ULC-Energy - established in 2021 and based in Amsterdam - aims to accelerate decarbonisation in the Netherlands by developing nuclear energy projects that efficiently integrate with residential and industrial energy networks in the country.

In December, the Netherlands' new coalition government placed nuclear power at the heart of its climate and energy policy. It said it would provide financial support to the goal of building new nuclear power plants. It outlined EUR50 million (USD50 million) for this in 2023, EUR200 million in 2024 and EUR250 million in 2025. It anticipated that cumulative support for new nuclear would reach EUR5 billion by 2030, while not assuming the power plants would be online by that time.

The Rolls-Royce SMR is a 470 MWe design based on a small pressurised water reactor. It will provide consistent baseload generation for at least 60 years. 90% of the SMR - about 16 metres by 4 metres - will be built in factory conditions, limiting on-site activity primarily to assembly of pre-fabricated, pre-tested, modules which significantly reduces project risk and has the potential to drastically shorten build schedules.

The design was accepted for Generic Design Assessment review in March this year with the UK's Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy asking the UK's Office for Nuclear Regulation along with the environment regulators for England and Wales to begin the process.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News