UK nuclear power development

2 min read

Rolls-Royce has announced plans to collaborate with EDF Energy on programmes to support the construction of four new nuclear power plants in the UK.

The agreement covers engineering and technical support during both before and after construction phases. The two companies may also later collaborate on the validation and supervision of the supply chain.

In July 2009 Rolls-Royce announced plans to build a new factory to manufacture, assemble, and test systems and components for nuclear power stations. The facility will have strong links with the UK-government-funded Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in which Rolls-Royce will be the lead industrial partner.

Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson, managing director of EDF Energy’s nuclear new build business, said: ‘As a country we face a significant energy challenge to keep the lights on, tackle climate change and maintain affordable prices. We believe the challenge can be met through greater energy efficiency and the generation of electricity from a diverse range of sources including nuclear and renewables.'

Cadoux-Hudson added EDF’s recent combination with British Energy makes it the largest generator of low-carbon electricity in Britain.

He said: ‘We plan to build four new European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) nuclear reactors in the UK at Hinkley Point in Somerset and Sizewell in Suffolk. Subject to the right investment framework being in place we intend to develop four EPRs in the UK by 2025 with the first operational by the end of 2017.'

Cadoux-Hudson added the agreement with Rolls-Royce further ensures it will meet its nuclear build plans. ‘Its name is one of the strongest engineering brands in the UK and it has a lot of strength in the nuclear industry, including a history of work for British Energy.’

EDF estimates the civil nuclear market is worth around £30bn a year globally and is expected to grow to £50bn a year in 15 years' time, more than 70 per cent of which will relate to the build and support of new facilities.

The company estimated the nuclear programme in the UK will sustain 10,000-15,000 jobs over 25 years, of which 45 per cent will be engineers.

EDF claims Rolls-Royce has the largest nuclear skills base in the UK. The power systems company also holds an existing nuclear-certified supply chain of 260 companies and supports a number of key phases of a civil nuclear programme, including providing advice to governments and operators as well as technical engineering support.

Lawrie Haynes, president of Rolls-Royce Nuclear, said: ‘We are very pleased to be working with EDF Energy and this agreement is another step towards the delivery of our civil nuclear strategy.

‘With the largest proven nuclear supply chain of any UK company Rolls-Royce is uniquely placed to deliver world-class engineering and manufacturing capability to support the delivery of nuclear power programmes both here and around the world.’