An engineering firm will be helping in the development of small nuclear reactors which could each provide energy to one million households.

Assystem, which has an office in Blackburn, will extend its leading role in Rolls-Royce’s small modular reactor development programme as it enters the next phase.

The firm will continue to lead on the design of key areas of power plant infrastructure including the turbine island, cooling water island and balance of plant systems.

UK Managing director of Assystem, Simon Barber said: “As independent engineering experts, we are proud to be supporting the development of this pioneering technology which will play a crucial role in the global decarbonisation journey.

“We are bringing our industry leading ‘engineering powered by digital’ approach to the design of key plant systems, ensuring the highest standards of project management and cutting-edge technological solutions are utilised.”

“Having been involved in this project for five years now, I am personally delighted to see it enter the next funding and regulatory assessment phase.

“This is an important development in the UK’s nuclear energy capability, which will boost skilled jobs and provide vital long-term energy security.”

Ministers are investing over £200 million into the small nuclear reactor research in the hope of shifting to clean household energy “more quickly”.

There has also been at least £250 million of private sector funding promised in what has been hailed a “once in a lifetime opportunity” for the UK in a bid to move away from reliance on fossil fuels.

The clean energy system of each small modular reactor it hopes to build could be capable of powering one million homes – equivalent to a city the size of Leeds.

Rolls-Royce SMR, which is receiving the public money, said a domestic small modular reactor sector could help to create about 40,000 jobs.

Assystem is expecting to double the size of its SMR team in the next six months, bringing additional skilled jobs into the area, where it is also successfully delivering other nuclear energy projects, including safe decommissioning of the Sellafield nuclear site in Cumbria.