A REVIEW has been completed into the potential options for nuclear power sites in South Gloucestershire. 

A study by Rolls-Royce and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has highlighted eight potential sites - which include Berkeley and Oldbury. 

The sites could host Rolls-Royce’s Small Modular Reactors which are low-carbon power and would create enough clean energy in the UK to power a million homes for 60 years. 

Previously Western Gateway's Severn Edge made the final shortlist for a prototype fusion nuclear power plant, but lost out to a site in the Midlands earlier this month.

Gazette Series: The Oldbury Site, which is owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. The Oldbury Site, which is owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. (Image: The Western Gateway)

However under this new bid, the sites could see SMRs deployed in the early 2030s. 

Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie has welcomed the news.

She said: “I am pleased Oldbury has been chosen as a potential priority site to house Small Modular Reactors by Rolls-Royce. 

“We had Berkeley and Oldbury sites investigated fully as part of the Fusion bid so it is no surprise to me that we are winning other projects now.

“Jobs and skills coming into the South West is positive for the Stroud District, either directly or through the supply chain.

“It’s important that Berkeley has been earmarked as a site for further investigation as a base for SMRs. 

“I have been in touch with Ministers to explore options for Berkeley already.

“Any other SMR sites might be even further into the future so I will considering all opportunities for our area with the Western Gateway.

“I believe we must make something of the excellent work that has already taken place to develop the expertise in and around Berkeley.

Rolls-Royce says that deploying a fleet of SMR in the UK would create 40,000 jobs across England and Wales.

They say their new study is an important step in deploying the fleet of small modular reactors that would help ensure the UK can reach Net Zero and bolster the country's energy security.

Gazette Series: The Severn Edge siteThe Severn Edge site (Image: The Western Gateway)

Chair of the Western Gateway Partnership, Katherine Bennett said: “It's great to see both of our Severn Edge sites, Oldbury and Berkeley being considered as part of the Rolls-Royce Small Modular Reactor programme. 

“Through our Fusion bid, we’ve been working to raise the profile of our area, leverage the great skills we have and create opportunities for local people in England and Wales. 

“It’s testament to the success of that campaign that we are continuing to see new opportunities appear.

“We are confident that both Oldbury and Berkeley can provide unique access to a highly skilled workforce, a supportive community and a chance to level up areas of England and Wales.

Rolls-Royce SMR has assessed the potential to deploy multiple units at the following sites (equivalent to 15GW): 

  • Oldbury - North (requires agreement with Horizon Nuclear Power)
  • Trawsfynydd (requires agreement with the Welsh Government)
  • Sellafield (NDA land availability to be confirmed)
  • Wylfa - South (requires agreement with Horizon Nuclear Power)

Potential sites that require further investigation: 

  • Berkeley: 4-6 SMR potential (requires agreement with the Berkeley Estate)

Total maximum potential of 3GW Deployable sites outside NDA estate:

•    Hartlepool: 2 SMR potential (requires agreement with EDF Energy)

•    Heysham: 3 SMR potential (requires agreement with EDF Energy

•    Bradwell - North / East: 4-6 SMR potential (requires agreement with EDF energy)