Rolls-Royce nuclear power backed by UK Space Agency


Rolls-Royce is a British engineering company designing and producing nuclear power systems for several decades. Several countries around the world have used the company’s atomic technology in the nuclear industry for a long time. Rolls-Royce is a British multinational engineering company involved in several industries, including aerospace, marine, and energy. 

Rolls-Royce has expertise in the development of nuclear reactors for both civil and military applications. The company’s nuclear division designs and manufactures a range of nuclear reactors, including pressurized water reactors (PWRs), boiling water reactors (BWRs), and small modular reactors (SMRs).

Rolls-Royce’s SMR design, known as the “UK Small Modular Reactor,” is a compact, scalable nuclear power plant intended to provide low-carbon electricity to remote areas and supplement the electricity grid in larger urban areas. The company is currently working to secure regulatory approval for the design, having partnered with various organizations to develop it.

Rolls-Royce also provides nuclear-related services, including decommissioning and waste management, and has extensive experience safely and securely handling nuclear materials.

In the nuclear industry, Rolls-Royce is involved in designing, developing, and manufacturing atomic reactors, nuclear propulsion systems for submarines and other naval vessels, and small modular reactors (SMRs) for power generation.

Rolls-Royce’s nuclear division has extensive experience in the design and operation of nuclear reactors, with over 50 years of experience in the industry. The company has designed and built reactors for the UK’s nuclear submarine fleet and is developing a new class of nuclear submarines for the Royal Navy.

In addition to its work in the nuclear industry, Rolls-Royce is also involved in developing advanced nuclear technologies, including fusion energy and advanced reactors. The company partners with several universities and research institutions to advance these technologies.

The company has been working on a small modular reactor (SMR) design to generate low-carbon electricity more flexibly and cost-effectively than traditional large-scale nuclear power plants. Rolls-Royce has also been exploring the use of nuclear power in other applications, such as propulsion systems for ships.

The UK Space Agency, on the other hand, is responsible for coordinating and promoting the UK’s space activities. The agency works with industry, academia, and other government departments to support the development of space-related technology and applications and promote international collaboration and cooperation in space exploration.

There may be some overlap between Rolls-Royce’s nuclear power expertise and the UK Space Agency’s activities, such as developing power systems for space exploration missions. However, I have yet to get specific information on whether the UK Space Agency has backed Rolls-Royce’s nuclear power projects or vice versa beyond my knowledge cutoff date.

Rolls-Royce Nuclear Power is a division of Rolls-Royce Holdings that specializes in nuclear power systems for both civil and military applications. The UK Space Agency, on the other hand, is the government department responsible for the UK’s civil space program.

While these two entities can collaborate on space and nuclear power projects, no publicly available information suggests that the UK Space Agency is backing Rolls-Royce Nuclear Power. It is important to note that any news or developments regarding such a collaboration may have emerged after my knowledge cutoff date.

Rolls-Royce was working on developing small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) for use in the UK, and the UK government had expressed support for this technology. Rolls-Royce had also signed agreements with several countries, including the Czech Republic and Estonia, to explore the potential use of SMRs in their energy mix.

The UK Space Agency is responsible for promoting the UK space sector and coordinating its activities. While there may be some overlap in terms of technology development, it is still being determined how the UK Space Agency would be directly involved in supporting Rolls-Royce’s nuclear power efforts.

The micro-reactor project at Rolls-Royce is developing the technology for humans to live and work on the Moon with the help of scientists and engineers. Energy sources are essential to communications systems, life support systems, and science experiments on board space missions. Nuclear energy has the potential to dramatically increase the duration and scientific value of future lunar missions.

The UK Space Agency has announced £2.9 million in increased funding for the project, which will provide the initial demonstration of a UK lunar module nuclear reactor. This follows a £249,000 survey funded by the UK Space Agency in 2022.

Nuclear space power is expected to create new skilled employees across the UK to support a growing UK space economy. Rolls-Royce plans to have a reactor ready for sending to the Moon by 2029.

In contrast to other power systems, a nuclear micro-reactor is relatively small and lightweight and can provide continuous power regardless of location, sunlight availability, or other environmental conditions.

The University of Oxford, Bangor University, the University of Brighton, the Advanced Manufacturing Research Center (AMRC) of the University of Sheffield, and the Nuclear AMRC are among the universities Rolls-Royce will work with. Through the funding, Rolls-Royce can further enhance its understanding of these complex systems by focusing on three key features of the microreactor:

  • The fuel used to generate heat.
  • The method of transferring heat.
  • The technology for converting heat into electricity.

The potential applications of the Rolls-Royce micro-reactor technology are broad and can support aerospace, commercial, and defence uses. The goal is to develop a clean, green, long-term energy source and world-leading power and propulsion capabilities for multiple markets and operator needs.

Following the announcement of £51m of funding available to UK companies for developing communications and navigation services as part of the Moonlight programme by the European Space Agency, which aims to launch a constellation of satellites around the Moon, Rolls-Royce formed the partnership with Rolls-Royce.

Astronauts, rovers, science experiments, and other equipment can safely communicate and exchange large amounts of data, including high-definition video, on the Moon.

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Marta Lopez

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