Italian firm joins consortium for nuclear heavy modules

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Ansaldo Nucleare has signed an agreement with Nuvia and Cammell Laird to design and build heavy modules and components for the UK’s civil nuclear programme.

The partners propose to build super modules for AP1000 and EPR nuclear power plants using an off-site ‘weather-protected’ construction hall and sea access load-out facilities at Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead capable of handling modules of up to 5,000 tonnes.

According to a statement, this approach will lead to the design and build of larger units than previously possible. This will reportedly reduce construction costs, improve quality, safety and delivery performance.

John Syvret, chief executive officer of Cammell Laird, said: ’Ansaldo is… involved in the construction and management of the latest AP1000 Nuclear Power Plant being built in China.

‘These skills when added to the capabilities and infrastructure of Nuvia and Cammell Laird, create a unique formula for the design, off-site construction and installation support of “super modules” for future nuclear power plants to be built in the UK and ultimately around the world.’

The partnership could have the potential to create and secure hundreds of jobs at Cammell Laird when the new-build programme begins in approximately 18 months’ time.

Under proposals announced by the UK government in November 2009, 10 potential sites have been identified for new nuclear power stations. If built, these will generate up to 25 per cent of the country’s electricity energy needs, compared to the 13 per cent generated by nuclear means today.

Subsequent to the UK government’s announcement, electricity generators EDF Energy, Horizon Nuclear Power and NuGen have made commitments to build at Hinkley, Sizewell, Wylfain and Oldbury.