16 November 2021

Burges Salmon has advised UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) on its funding of the Rolls-Royce Small Modular Reactor (SMR).

This grant awarded by the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), is matched financially by Rolls-Royce SMR Ltd investors. The objective is to advance and mature a UK design of a small nuclear reactor that can potentially deliver low carbon power in the future to support the UK policy objective of net zero by 2050.

The secured grant funding from UKRI is part of the funding package to support nuclear development first announced by the UK Prime Minister in ‘The Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution’. The transaction between UKRI and Rolls-Royce SMR is another step towards the delivery of the Government’s net zero strategy and its 10-point plan.

To reduce costs, Rolls-Royce SMR Ltd are proposing to develop radically different construction methods for new nuclear power plants. The programme will apply the known benefits of production line manufacture in factories to deliver nuclear systems. This has the potential to reduce the costs and construction times, while maintaining the ongoing quality and integrity of the systems produced.

The team advising on the deal was led by Burges Salmon Partner, John Houlden, and Senior Associate in the Projects team, Punim Anda, alongside Meryon Roddick.

Richard Deakin, Low Cost Nuclear Director at UKRI says: “Punim and the Burges Salmon team provided great support to the UKRI team and were instrumental in helping us complete the deal under significant time pressures. The team clearly understood the terms that were important to us and worked hard to ensure an agreement was reached. We are grateful for their expert advice as well as their outstanding availability."

John Houlden comments: “We are pleased to have acted on behalf of UKRI to support their funding of Rolls-Royce SMR. This is an important programme for decarbonising the UK’s energy system in line with net zero and SMR nuclear power stations could contribute to future grid stability by providing diversified, firm, low carbon electricity generation at lower costs.

Punim Anda says: “This project potentially represents a big step towards achieving the UK’s net zero ambitions and we were thrilled to have been able to assist UKRI in putting the deal together.

Key contact

John Houlden

John Houlden Partner

  • Head of Public Sector
  • Head of Procurement and Subsidy Control
  • Projects

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