Three sites in the North East have been shortlisted for a 200-job factory to help build the next generation of nuclear plants.

A division of Rolls-Royce has announced a list of potential locations for its first factory. This is the first of three factories and will manufacture the ‘heavy vessels’ for its Small Modular Reactor (SMR) power station.

The Factory is expected to be around 23,000 square metres in size – equivalent to three football pitches, will cost around £100-£200 million and will create long-term high-skilled jobs

Construction will begin once Rolls-Royce SMR receives the go-ahead to build a fleet of SMRs in the UK.

The shortlist was picked from over 100 submissions from Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and development agencies – suggesting sites across the UK where the Rolls-Royce SMR factories could be located. 

The locations of the final shortlisted sites are: 

North East – IAMP Sunderland  

Forrest Park Newton Aycliffe

North Yorkshire – Catterick 53, Richmond

Wales – Gateway, Deeside 

Yorkshire - Ferrybridge

Greater Lincolnshire - Grimsby & Pioneer Park, Stallingborough

Cumbria – Kingmoor Park, Carlisle

Read more: Teesside could have been a possibility for nuclear plant

Rolls-Royce SMR Chief Executive, Tom Samson, said: “I would like to thank everyone who sent in a submission suggesting locations in their region for the first Rolls-Royce SMR factory. The response was fantastic and shows the ambition and appetite of the UK to build and operate a fleet of SMRs which will provide affordable, low-carbon electricity for generations to come. 

The Northern Echo: How the nuclear plants could lookHow the nuclear plants could look

“The final location will come from the shortlist and will result in significant investment, long-term high-skilled jobs and will support the UK Government’s aspirations for levelling-up. This announcement is another example of the pace of our project and why Rolls-Royce SMR is the UK’s domestic nuclear energy champion.”

Rolls-Royce SMR’s approach is a completely different way of building nuclear power stations, where 90% of the Rolls-Royce SMR built in factory conditions significantly reducing the timescales and project risk.

The other two factories will manufacture civils modules and mechanical electrical and plumbing (MEP) modules – which will be transported to sites and assembled into a nuclear power station that will generate 470MW of low-carbon electricity. These locations will be selected from the full list of submissions – giving all locations further opportunities to host a Rolls-Royce SMR factory.

Secretary of State for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP, said: “This is fantastic news for Sunderland, North Yorkshire, Deeside, Lincolnshire and Carlisle which, if these SMRs go ahead, could be at the forefront of manufacturing components for this British-made tech.

“Backed by £210m, SMRs have the potential to provide quicker and cheaper low-carbon nuclear power, and today’s announcement underlines the potential for new jobs around the country created by embracing this new technology.”