Winning business in the nuclear renaissance

Thursday 17 February, Doncaster Racecourse

Smaller businesses can gain invaluable insight into the opportunities of nuclear new-build at a free event in February.

The day-long series aims to help small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) prepare to enter the nuclear supply chain through a series of in-depth presentation and discussion sessions.

The ‘Winning business in the nuclear renaissance‘ event takes place at Doncaster Racecourse, South Yorkshire, on Thursday 17 February 2011. The day is organised by the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) in association with the Nuclear AMRC and Nuclear Industry Association.

The Nuclear AMRC team will provide an introduction to the nuclear product development cycle, how the centre can help companies prepare products for the market, and how SMEs can prepare to meet the tough quality standards of the industry.

Other sessions will cover contracting and tendering, quality codes and standards, and auditing and assurance.

The day follows the MAS nuclear supply chain opportunities conference in Manchester in September. That event resulted in 110 SMEs requesting a nuclear-related review from MAS. DVDs of the conference presentations are now available from MAS.

Attendence is free for all UK SMEs. For more information, call MAS on 0800 458 9585, visit the MAS event web page, or download the brochure (pdf).

Energy market reform will pave the way for new nuclear

The companies planning to build new nuclear power stations in the UK have welcomed government proposals to reform the electricity market.

Consultation document on Carbon price floorThe proposals, which are open to consultation until February, include plans to introduce a carbon floor price to allow low-carbon generation to compete for long-term investment on a level basis with fossil fuels. Utilities have identified this as a necessary step to allow the construction of new nuclear plant and other low-carbon generators.

The news should give increased confidence to manufacturing companies preparing to supply the new generation of nuclear power stations.

Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive of EDF Energy, said: “This is a landmark day. The announcement reflects a broad consensus that a robust carbon price and other market reforms are in the interests of consumers and the environment. It creates a momentum that triggers the path to implementation in 2011.”

EDF Energy is planning to build four Areva EPR reactors with a total capacity of 6.4GWe at Hinkley Point and Sizewell.

“We are looking to drive about £20 billion worth of investment in new generation, working with our partner Centrica, to be on stream from 2018,” added de Rivaz. “Putting these reforms in place is an essential step to make this possible.”

NuGeneration, the joint venture between Iberdrola, GDF Suez and Scottish and Southern Energy which is planning up to 3.6GWe new capacity at Sellafield, also welcomed the news.

Ian Marchant, chief executive of Scottish and Southern Energy, commented: “In the next two decades, substantial investment is needed to decarbonise the power sector and maintain security of supply whilst ensuring electricity remains affordable.

“This requires an evolved market structure, which the electricity market reform process is appropriately timed to deliver, with a White Paper expected next summer and reforms set to be implemented by around 2013.”

Horizon Nuclear Power, the joint venture between E.ON UK and RWE npower which is planning up to 6GWe of new capacity at Wylfa and Oldbury, said it would be scrutinising the details of the proposals to make sure that they can deliver long-term confidence for investors.

“We welcome the Government’s commitment to reform the electricity market,” said Alan Raymant, chief operating officer at Horizon. “The country needs to replace closing power stations, and the focus must be on low carbon power generation. Nuclear is the most cost effective of the serious, large scale, low carbon electricity sources. It doesn’t need a subsidy, just a level playing field which isn’t currently provided by a market designed in another era.”

At the NIA’s annual Energy Choices conference in London earlier this month, all three groups called for energy market reform including a carbon floor price.

The new proposals include an array of measures to make low-carbon generation more economically attractive, and promote the construction of new generation capacity without the need for direct subsidies.

For nuclear power, the key reform is the introduction of a carbon floor price, which imposes a minimum price for electricity generated from fossil fuels and reflects the long-term costs of greenhouse gas emissions. The reform should benefit all low-carbon generation technologies.

The energy and climate change secretary, Chris Huhne MP, said: “These reforms lay the foundations for a sustainable economy, bringing billions in investment in the UK through greater certainty, safeguarding jobs up and down the supply chain, and giving the UK real competitive advantage in advanced energy technologies.

“Without investment in renewables, new nuclear and carbon capture and storage, emissions will remain too high, we will become dependent on energy imports, and increasingly vulnerable to fossil fuel price volatility. Low carbon technologies must be given the chance to become the dominant component in our electricity mix.”

Consultation documents for the carbon price support are available at: http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/consult_carbon_price_support.htm

Consultation documents on other proposals are at: http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/consultations/emr/emr.aspx

NuGeneration joint venture launched

Iberdrola, GDF Suez and Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) have announced the formal launch of their joint venture for nuclear new-build in the UK.

The new joint venture company, NuGeneration Ltd (NuGen), aims to develop a nuclear power station of up to 3.6GWe generating capacity, on land near Sellafield in Cumbria. The consortium acquired an option on the site in October 2009.

NuGen is now preparing detailed plans for development of the site, and intends to make a final investment decision around 2015. Any new power station would then be commissioned around 2023.

The joint venture company is headed by Olivier Carret (previously at GDF Suez) as chief operating director, and Alfio Vidal (previously at Iberdrola) as chief nuclear director.

Vidal commented: “NuGen’s greatest strength is that it can draw upon the experience, resources and skills of three well established and respected energy companies, that have experience of operating and delivering nuclear, and other generation plants, across Europe.

“We also hope to draw upon the expertise and knowledge that comes from the long tradition of nuclear power in West Cumbria. We will shortly be establishing a permanent base in the area, from where we expect to contribute to Cumbria’s ‘Energy Coast’ vision and seek to develop strong and long term relationships with local communities in West Cumbria.”

The three consortium partners currently own and operate around 10GW of nuclear capacity in Spain, Belgium, Germany and France. GDF Suez and Iberdrola each hold 37.5 per cent of NuGen, while SSE holds 25 per cent.

For more information, see www.nugeneration.com

Nuclear AMRC construction launched by Her Majesty The Queen

Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, officially launched building work on the new Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC), during a visit to the University of Sheffield AMRC with Boeing today (18 November 2010).

Her Majesty donned a set of virtual reality glasses to remotely activate a digger from inside the AMRC’s MANTRA (Manufacturing Transporter). MANTRA is a customised lorry and trailer designed to give aspiring young engineers a hands-on experience with state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies, including a 3D virtual reality system used for product design, simulation and training.

The Nuclear AMRC is a new collaboration between the University of Sheffield and the University of Manchester, with the backing of the Government and leading companies involved in building the new generation of civil nuclear power stations. Based on the same collaborative model as the AMRC, the Nuclear AMRC will help UK companies become global leaders in the production of components and systems for the new generation of nuclear power stations.

The Nuclear AMRC building will sit alongside the established AMRC Factory of the Future, on the Advanced Manufacturing Park in South Yorkshire. A former colliery site, the Advanced Manufacturing Park is now a national hub for high-technology manufacturing businesses.

During their visit, Her Majesty The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh toured the facilities of the AMRC Factory of the Future, and viewed research projects that AMRC researchers are leading for partner companies including Boeing, BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce. Her Majesty also met AMRC apprentices, who talked about how they are benefiting from the apprenticeship programme.

Professor Keith Ridgway OBE, founder and research director of the AMRC and programme director of the Nuclear AMRC, said: “We are very proud to welcome Her Majesty to the AMRC at this very exciting time. Over the past decade, the AMRC with Boeing has supported hundreds of manufacturing businesses and helped make sure that British engineering knowhow can compete with the world’s best. The Nuclear AMRC will take this technological excellence into new markets, and help British companies supply the new generation of power stations worldwide.”

Professor Mike Hounslow, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Engineering at the University of Sheffield, said: “The Sheffield City Region has a centuries-old reputation for manufacturing excellence.  We are honoured to be able to demonstrate to Her Majesty that this reputation lives on at the cutting-edge of research and that by working together with industry we are able to add significant value in areas as diverse as aerospace and new generation nuclear reactors.”

The Nuclear AMRC will incorporate 8000 sq m of factory-scale research facilities, laboratories, and office and meeting space. The landmark building is designed by Bond Bryan Architects, and scheduled for completion in Autumn 2011. The manufacturing research facilities in South Yorkshire will be complemented by expanded research laboratories at the University of Manchester.

Other major new developments at the AMRC include a Knowledge Transfer Centre to provide businesses with training in new manufacturing technologies; and a Composite Centre extension to the Factory of the Future.

During their visit to Sheffield, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh also opened the new Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN), and visited a showcase of projects led by the University of Sheffield’s SheffieldVolunteering at Sheffield Cathedral.

Groundwork for a nuclear future

Work has begun on the Nuclear AMRC’s 8000 sq m facility on the Advanced Manufacturing Park in South Yorkshire, with Leeds-based BAM Construction as lead contractor.

The landmark building secured planning permission in June. Permission has since been secured for a 850kW wind turbine which will help power the building, and for the AMRC Knowledge Transfer Centre on the adjoining site.

When completed in late 2011, the Nuclear AMRC building will offer some 5200 sq m of workshop space, equipped to meet the R&D needs of the civil nuclear manufacturing supply chain, as well as laboratory, meeting and exhibition space.

Work is also progressing on the expanded laboratories at the Dalton Nuclear Institute in Manchester, which will offer manufacturing, testing and analytical facilities to complement the Yorkshire centre. The refitting of the Royce Laboratory in the University of Manchester’s Sackville Street building is underway, and work has begun in the nearby Material Science building to house the Nuclear AMRC’s material examination equipment.

The Nuclear AMRC is taking shape in other ways. Contracts are in place to supply our first major pieces of research equipment, to be housed in our interim workshop on the Advanced Manufacturing Park. Initial research projects have begun using the existing facilities at the AMRC and Dalton Nuclear Institute. Nuclear AMRC managers are working with our partners to decide details of our quality and skills programmes. We are in advanced membership discussions with more companies along the supply chain. And we are continuing to recruit talented engineers, researchers and business support staff.

Keep reading the newly expanded Nuclear AMRC website for the latest information.

EDF highlights opportunities for UK suppliers

UK companies have already secured contracts worth over £50 million to supply EDF Energy’s proposed new generation of nuclear power stations.

EDF has signed over 130 contracts with British companies or consortia with UK partners, to help build its proposed four EPR reactors (pictured). The programme is expected to lead to around 150 further major contracts worth many billions of pounds.

“We believe that UK businesses have a significant role to play,” said Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive of EDF Energy. “To do so, it is important companies prepare now, to ensure they have the right skills, accreditations and quality standards to work on a nuclear site.”

de Rivaz was speaking at a one-day suppliers conference, hosted by EDF Energy in London. The event, held at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre on 13 September, was attended by 650 delegates from some 400 companies.

The event was also addressed by energy minister Charles Hendry and business secretary Vince Cable.

Hendry said: “The multi-billion pound opportunities these projects provide for UK industry and jobs are huge. I am very encouraged by the drive of companies such as EDF Energy and by the enthusiasm of companies, local and national, to get involved. These projects can help revitalise entire sectors of the British economy and create a UK industry with the skills to export and compete around the world.”

Energy Choices 2010: This nuclear island

Thursday 2 December 2010, Westminster

The Nuclear Industry Association presents its Energy Choices conference, widely recognised as one of the UK’s leading nuclear events.

Speakers include energy secretary Chris Huhne; Kevin Allars of HSE’s nuclear directorate; Alan Raymant of Horizon Nuclear Power; Paul Howarth of the National Nuclear Laboratory; Norman Harrison of Babcock International; Jean Llewellyn of NSA Nuclear; Tony Fountain of NDA; Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson of EDF Energy; and Olivier Carret of GDF Suez.

The event also features a major nuclear exhibition featuring stands from all the major players, industry announcements, and the release of the NIA’s latest public opinion poll.

For more information, see http://www.niauk.org/2-december-2010.html

Nuclear Supply Chain Opportunities for SMEs

Monday 27 September

Manchester Conference Centre

Discover the business opportunities available to small and medium-sized manufacturers in the civil nuclear supply chain – existing sites, decommissioning and the planned new nuclear build programme – at this one-day event hosted by the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS).

The event is free for all SMEs.

For more information: www.mas-nw.co.uk

New Nuclear Opportunities: EDF National Supplier Event

Monday 13 September

Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, London

EDF Energy hosts a national event for companies interested in becoming part of its supply chain. Key speakers will provide an update of the current position for Hinkley Point and Sizewell C, and ensure that UK companies are aware of the opportunities that those investment plans will create. Presentations in the afternoon will be led by key EDF Energy staff from engineering and will focus on the codes and standards to be used to help companies understand the requirements for working on the project.

For more information: www.newnuclearopportunities.edfenergy.com