Thousands of jobs set to be created under plans for 16 mini-nuclear power stations across the UK

Six thousand jobs will be created under plans for 16 mini-nuclear power stations across the UK.

A group led by engine maker Rolls-Royce has pledged to create the roles over the next five years.

Up to eighty per cent of the power station components are set to be made in factories across the Midlands and north of England before being sent on to existing nuclear sites around the country for rapid assembly.

The plans could also deliver a further 34,000 roles within 15 years, most of which would be high value manufacturing jobs, according to Rolls Royce.

The group – which also includes National Nuclear Laboratory and Laing O’Rourke – says it is hoping to get a “clear commitment” from the Government for the project.

The Government gave the consortium £18million last year to design the small modular reactors (SMR).

The group matched that funding and is now looking to secure a further £217m, which would also be matched by industry.

Tom Samson, interim chief executive of the consortium, said: “This creates a unique opportunity to revitalise the UK’s industrial base and paves the way for the future commercialisation of advanced reactor solutions, including fusion technology.

“Our ambition to accelerate the deployment of a fleet these power stations across the UK will contribute massively to the ‘levelling up’ agenda, creating sustainable high value manufacturing jobs in those areas most in need of economic activity.”

He added: “The fleet approach will bring huge value to the communities of which these power stations will be a part, with economic activity spanning 60 years of operations.”

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The jobs would be created in manufacturing and assembly, as well as the supply chain that supports the programme and in the firms that will ultimately operate the power stations.

It comes amid soaring UK unemployment caused by the pandemic.

The plans could also help revive the fortunes of Rolls Royce, which is cutting 9,000 jobs to offset the effects of coronavirus.

The consortium believes the project will help the UK meet its net zero commitments on emissions.

The UK Government has vowed to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

In addition, backers say the scheme would have export potential of at least £250 billion by 2050 and could lead to further British jobs.

The group has clinched two new agreements in the past week, with US power giant Exelon Generation and Czech Republic firm CEZ looking at how the reactors could be used in their power stations.