Page 0015

It was an announcement that even the

sceptics knew had to come - and in

terms of Britain's nuclear energy future it

was a pivotal moment.

After years of highs and lows, with one

big player after another pulling out in fear

of the risks involved in the billions of

pounds of investment needed, French

energy giant EDF Energy took the plunge.

Backed with new money from China, and

guaranteed prices for its nuclear energy

by the British Government, it announced

the go-ahead for Britain's first new

nuclear power plant in two decades to be

built at Hinkley Point C in Somerset.

Within weeks of the announcement the then

Energy Minister Michael Fallon was to tell a

London audience of manufacturers of the

"huge opportunities" the £multi-billion

Hinkley investment throws up for UK companies - from

construction right through

Tiers 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the manufacturing

and engineering supply chain; through operation and finally decommissioning.


Hinkley Point C, he said, "represents the

start of investment in a new fleet of nuclear

power stations" - with plans in place to

deliver around 16 GW of new nuclear by

2030. That broadly translates into at least 12

new nuclear reactors at five sites currently

earmarked for development: Hinkley Point,

Sizewell, Wylfa, Oldbury and Moorside.

Total investment is estimated at £60 billion -

and there is a strong commitment by all the

reactor builders to find UK companies for their

supply chains. As much as 60% by value.

EDF, with 15 reactors at seven UK locations,

is typical of this commitment to local suppliers and has a track

record to prove it. Within

weeks of the Hinkley announcement it was

hosting a conference targeted at Tier 1 and

Tier 2 companies to highlight opportunities in

new build and how to access them.

Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy - the principal

contractor for the proposed reactors at

Wylfa and Oldbury - has a declared policy to

"work with suppliers to expand and develop

the role of the UK supply chain...our current

focus is on early engagement with prospective suppliers, investigating your interest,

capabilities, experience and aspirations to

develop your business."

Partners in Moorside include Toshiba and

GDF SUEZ of France with technology

provider Westinghouse. They are equally

committed to UK involvement - GDF SUEZ

for example has an 'Innovative SMEs

Charter' which, among other things, includes

a "pledge to help SMEs realise their innovation projects

and make a decisive contribution to

their future development."

Confirmation of Moorside, which will be

Europe's largest new nuclear development,

was confirmed as we were going to Press

with project milestones now being laid down.

No-one can be sure what all this means in

monetary terms, but with EDF estimating

that just under 60% of the Hinkley contract

value will go to UK companies, the numbers

are eye watering. And this is business

opportunity this year and now, not 10 years

down the line.

The message, as Minister Fallon said, is to

act NOW. And there is plenty of help out

there to prepare companies right the way

through the supply chain - through Tiers 2,

3 and 4 - so they can become part of this

chain of opportunity.


The fact is the nuclear industry needs you as

much as you need it. "Key to the successful

delivery of the new nuclear fleet will be a

strong domestic workforce and supply

chain. The opportunities are there for the

taking," said the Minister.







continued on page 16

A computer generated

image of Hinkley Point C in

Somerset - the power plant

was the first to get the goahead in what is an ambitious

nuclear energy


in the UK, where

local supply chain content is

a key priority.

Below: Apprentices at

Hinkley, where local recruitment is widespread.


images courtesy EDF Energy.


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