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HomeNuclearContract for expansion of Rolls-Royce submarine site

Contract for expansion of Rolls-Royce submarine site

28 May 2024

International infrastructure group Balfour Beatty has been selected by Rolls-Royce as its non-fissile construction partner to help expand its Raynesway site in Derby, UK, to meet the growth in demand from the Royal Navy, and as a result of last year’s AUKUS announcement.

Rolls-Royce Submarines’ current site at Raynesway (Image: Rolls-Royce)

In September 2021, the leaders of Australia, the UK and the USA announced a new enhanced trilateral security partnership – the AUKUS partnership – under which Australia will acquire at least eight nuclear-powered submarines. The submarines are to be built in Adelaide, South Australia.

In March last year, as part of the AUKUS trilateral agreement, it was announced that Rolls-Royce Submarines Ltd of the UK will provide reactors for the Australian submarines. Three months later, Rolls-Royce announced plans to almost double the size of its Raynesway site.

In March this year, it was confirmed that Australia had committed GBP2.4 billion (USD3 billion) over ten years to the UK SSN-AUKUS programme, representing a proportionate contribution to both the expansion of Rolls-Royce Submarines infrastructure, as well as a fair contribution to costs associated with submarine design.

The increase in demand will see Balfour Beatty – which is currently involved in the construction of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in Somerset, England – build new manufacturing and office facilities as well as the adjoining site infrastructure. The increase in work from the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) will create 1170 skilled roles at Rolls-Royce, across a range of disciplines including manufacturing and engineering.

“We cannot deliver against our commitments to the MOD and the AUKUS programme on our own,” said Rolls-Royce Submarines Infrastructure Director Terry Meighan. “It will require a strong and reliable supply chain bringing their expertise to enhance and enable the critical work we do. The selection of Balfour Beatty as our expansion construction partner is a prime example of that.”

Balfour Beatty’s Group Chief Executive Leo Quinn added that the announcement “marks an important step forward in ensuring Rolls-Royce has the infrastructure in place to support the strategic requirements of the MOD and the AUKUS programmes. I’m delighted Balfour Beatty has been chosen to support this critical work for a project that will see us unite our unique multi-disciplinary expertise and experience in delivering large scale complex projects within live, operational nuclear environments”.

Earlier this year, Rolls-Royce announced multi-disciplinary professional services consultancy WSP as its non-fissile design partner for the expansion of its Raynesway site. It will be WSP’s role to design the new facilities and the infrastructure that links the site together.

The first generation of AUKUS nuclear submarines – SSN-AUKUS – are to be based on the UK’s submarine design incorporating US submarine technology. The first UK submarines built to this design will be delivered in the late 2030s to replace the current Astute-Class vessels, with construction principally taking place at Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. Australia will work over the next decade to build up its submarine industrial base, and will build its submarines in South Australia with some components manufactured in the UK. The first Australian-built submarines will be delivered in the 2040s.

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