Rolls-Royce in talks with US tech giants over using mini nuclear plants to power data centres
Rolls-Royce is in talks with Amazon and other US tech giants to power vast data centres with mini nuclear reactors.
The FTSE 100 engineering group is spearheading a project to design and build the flat-pack plants, called small modular reactors (SMRs).
The Government is planning to roll out a fleet of more than a dozen reactors that could be up and running by the early 2030s.
Flat pack nuclear: An artist’s impression of a small modular reactor. Rolls-Royce is leading a project to build the flat-pack power plants which could be used to power data centres
But tech companies are now eyeing up the SMRs – nicknamed ‘baby reactors’ – to provide electricity to data centres. which require mammoth amounts of power to keep servers running.
These servers allow businesses to store their data on the ‘cloud’ and mean employees can access it on the internet anywhere in the world.
SMRs would be a reliable source of power and could operate on or off-grid.
Crucially, they also provide green power, which an industry source said would help corporations meet their eco targets.
The source told the Mail: ‘A number of major companies have set low-carbon or green targets for securing their power, and rather than just buying a contract they’re thinking: plug an SMR into a data centre and you’ve got full availability of low-carbon power.
‘This is partly a way to keep shareholders happy.’
No SMRs have yet been built and the Rolls-Royce consortium estimates the first ones will be up and running by the early 2030s.
The group has spent around six years working on the designs and believes the reactors could create up to 40,000 UK jobs by 2050 and boost the economy by £52billion.
Rolls declined to say which firms it was in talks with. Its shares fell 0.5 per cent, or 0.74p, to 142.14p. Amazon was contacted for comment.