A U.K. consortium led by Rolls-Royce is pushing forward with plans to build 16 small modular reactors in the country, each capable of producing 440 MW of nuclear energy.         

The team seeks government backing of its plans to build the reactors by 2040.

Additionally, Rolls-Royce and Exelon Generation signed a memorandum of understanding Nov. 8 for Exelon to potentially operate the reactors in the UK and internationally. Exelon will use its operational experience to assist Rolls-Royce to develop and deploy them, according to Rolls-Royce.

The U.K. consortium, which includes Atkins and Jacobs, as well as contractors BAM Nuttall and Laing O’Rourke, has developed a production line process that has “reduced many construction risks associated with new nuclear power stations,” says Tom Samson, interim CEO.

The plants would be assembled on site sheltered by weatherproof canopies. The first unit could operate within 10 years, with two units each year afterward.

The consortium match-funded the $24-million grant committed by the government’s U.K. Research and Innovation last year.

Small modular reactors, known as SMRs, are “crucial part of the world’s clean energy mix,” notes Bryan Hanson, Exelon executive vice president and chief operating officer. The company can help “Rolls Royce ensure SMRs play a key role in the U.K.’s energy future.”