In the week that nuclear has been boosted by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to achieve net zero aims, it could end up also being the UK’s ticket to the moon.
Scientists at Rolls-Royce are working on a nuclear technology that would facilitate humans to live and work on the moon.
Nuclear power would be the source of energy that would keep communications systems and life support running far from Earth.
The UK Space Agency is funding this research with £2.9 million – with the aim being to develop a lunar modular nuclear reactor.
Rolls-Royce will be joined by researchers from various universities including Oxford and Bangor to turn the idea into a reality.
George Freeman, Minister of State at the Department of Science, Innovation and Technology, commented on the idea: “Space exploration is the ultimate laboratory for so many of the transformational technologies we need on Earth: from materials to robotics, nutrition, cleantech and much more.
“As we prepare to see humans return to the Moon for the first time in more than 50 years, we are backing exciting research like this lunar modular reactor with Rolls-Royce to pioneer new power sources for a lunar base.”
Abi Clayton, Director of Future Programmes for Rolls-Royce said: “The technology will deliver the capability to support commercial and defence use cases, alongside providing a solution to decarbonise industry and provide clean, safe and reliable energy.”