IAMP in running to land Rolls-Royce SMR factory

The International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) is among the final three locations shortlisted for major investment from Rolls-Royce SMR.

The 150-hectare development site, which spans land in South Tyneside and Sunderland, has been named in the final shortlist for Rolls-Royce SMR’s first heavy pressure vessels factory, which will produce components for a fleet of small modular reactors (SMR), designed and built in the UK, creating 200 jobs.  No nuclear material would be present on site.

IAMP will now face competition from Teesworks in Teesside and Gateway in Deeside to secure the investment, having each been selected following a series of visits and further assessments of each site’s suitability to host the HPV factory.

IAMP has already attracted significant investment, with SNOP and Faltec already operating from the site, and Envision AESC having committed £450m investment into the area with work underway on its second Gigafactory. The whole park is expected to create more than 7,000 jobs when it is fully developed, attracting a cluster of bespoke advanced manufacturing facilities that will tap into the area’s rich skills base and excellent connectivity. 

Making the announcement, Rolls-Royce SMR Chief Executive, Tom Samson, said:

“I want to thank everyone involved in the selection process and offer my congratulations to the three that have made the final shortlist.

“This is part of the process to build the first of at least three factories that will manufacture components for a fleet of small modular reactors and will present an incredible opportunity for a region of the UK. Our power stations will be built in British factories situated in the north of England or Wales and will generate tens of thousands of long-term highly skilled jobs – accelerating regional economic growth.”

The decision on the location will be made early next year after final evaluations and detailed assessments are made against the requirements and criteria for the factory, which will manufacture and assemble some of the largest and most complex components of the Rolls-Royce SMR power station.

Leader of South Tyneside Council, Councillor Tracey Dixon, said:

“We’re delighted that IAMP is in the running to secure this significant investment, which will create jobs and opportunities for local people and businesses.  

“IAMP was conceived with the aim of securing sustainable employment opportunities for local people and the interest and ultimately investment it has attracted demonstrates that we were right to be ambitious.  We are already leading the way in low carbon innovation and this facility would place South Tyneside right at the forefront of the green revolution.”

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said:

“IAMP is a unique site and is already a well-established, leading destination for advanced manufacturing businesses. We continue to invest in IAMP to enhance its position and deliver a yet-more attractive site for investors, so it is fantastic to see this being met with interest from Rolls-Royce SMR, who we would love to see add its name to the world-class cluster of manufacturers that is taking shape here.”

IAMP was established in a joint partnership between Sunderland City Council and South Tyneside Council, led by delivery partner HBD, and has been backed with £42m from the UK Government through the Local Growth Fund through the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) towards infrastructure including new roads, bridges and environmental enhancements to support the development.

Invest North East England (INEE), the region’s inward investment agency, has been coordinating the region’s response to the Rolls-Royce SMR factory project.

Guy Currey, Director of INEE, said:

“It is fantastic news that IAMP in Sunderland/South Tyneside has been shortlisted for the new Rolls-Royce SMR factory. IAMP provides a wonderful opportunity for Rolls-Royce to be located at the heart of a thriving engineering cluster alongside some of the biggest names in advanced manufacturing including Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK, Envision AESC’s new battery gigafactory, Faltec Europe and SNOP.

“North East England has a rich heritage in manufacturing and has always been an engineering powerhouse. Our world-leading cluster of advanced manufacturing companies, highly skilled workforce and excellent connectivity has helped the region attract some of the biggest global names. It has been a pleasure to have helped support this project alongside the region’s local authorities so far, and we will continue to support Rolls-Royce as they asses the sites in their shortlist.”

A fleet of Rolls-Royce SMR power stations would increase the UK’s energy security and support net zero targets by generating low-carbon electricity from a sustainable source for generations to come. As the only SMR in Europe currently in the regulatory process, there is also an enormous opportunity to export this British technology around the globe. 

Henri Murison, Chief Executive of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said:

“This is a huge vote of confidence for the North from Rolls-Royce SMR. Once government negotiates a deal to underpin the necessary private investment, we should be able to build a fleet of power stations across the UK, using cutting edge, homegrown technology.

“The green industrial revolution – with Small Modular Reactor technology at its heart – is our once-in-a-generation opportunity to put the North at the forefront of the transition to net zero, creating thousands of well-paid, skilled jobs and turbocharging our productivity.”

South Tyneside Estate - Port of Tyne
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