Sheffield University’s Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC) has received a Regional Growth Fund award of £37.1m to support its large-scale programme of supplier development and manufacturing research.
The programme, in partnership with industrial members, focuses on the civil nuclear new-build industry, but is said to have broad applicability across the nuclear value chain and other industries in the energy sector.
Director of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, Prof Keith Ridgway, said: ‘The programme we are operating at the Nuclear AMRC is ambitious and high-impact when compared with other supplier development initiatives, providing strong support for UK suppliers with aspirations to address the global civil nuclear new-build opportunity, and creating process technology and intellectual property that will enable export-led growth and long-term competitive advantage for UK supply chains.
‘This is a vital opportunity for British manufacturing companies, and we want to support the supply chain in developing the skills to operate in this high-value market, in the same way as we have so successfully worked together in relation to aerospace. It is believed that this market could be worth more than £500bn over the next 10 years.’
The news comes as Britain’s nuclear expansion plans were boosted on 30 October after Hitachi signed a £700m deal that will enable it to start building the next generation of power plants.
The facilities, which could be feeding electricity into the national grid in the first half of the 2020s, are expected to generate power equivalent to up to 14 million homes over 60 years.
The Nuclear AMRC is working in partnership with Rolls-Royce as the lead company for the UK nuclear supply chain.
Prof Stephen Court, operations director at the Nuclear AMRC, said: ‘The Nuclear AMRC is a prime example of the kind of partnership approach that is so important to our future as world-leading manufacturers.
‘Combining industry expertise and university innovation, we work with companies to improve capabilities and performance along the nuclear supply chain. The key to our success is that our members are the manufacturers themselves, and our dedication to helping UK businesses become suppliers of choice to the global civil nuclear industry.
‘To do that, we work with supply-chain companies to enhance their technical capability to compete on cost, quality and delivery. We also give manufacturers clarity and knowledge on nuclear codes and standards, which helps them to meet and exceed the demanding requirements of this industry.’