TSP Engineering recently attended the NIA Nuclear New Build Group Conference at the Engineering College in Birkenhead on Thursday 9th March.






The conference was well attended, with over 120 registered delegates and included new build updates from the Moorside (Cumbria); Wyla Newydd (Isle of Anglesey) and Hinkley Point C (Somerset) projects, as well as a couple of showcase presentations on SMR reactors and a question and answer session on the Government’s recent green paper on industrial strategy and the impact of Brexit.

The Moorside update presented by NuGen, briefly tackled the recent concerns surrounding their investor, Toshiba and their announcement that they were now focusing on nuclear new builds in Japan as well as scaling back existing project investments. NuGen was quick to point out that Toshiba had always planned to reduce their stake in Moorside as the project developed, so for them it was a case of business as usual (with NuGen now seeking to bring new investors on board in the near future). Moving away from the Toshiba topic, NuGen was keen to promote their aims for the Moorside site, including an operational life time of 60 years; 40 years of decommissioning; a capacity of 3.8GW of power; the creation of 1,000 jobs (21,000 during its lifetime) and a desire to provide the UK with over 60% of the supply chain spend. Work on the proposed site started in late 2015 and to date 300 bore holes have been drilled, some up to 200 metres in depth (samples from these bore holes are now being assessed to confirm the suitability of the geology for the planned site). A marine offshore rig was also put in place off the shore of Braystones to carry out a 4 month investigation into seismic surveys as well as drilling bore holes up to 110m below the sea level (again, for further analysis). Feedback from stage 1 and 2 public consultations is currently being reviewed to address requirements and concerns associated with a nuclear new build in West Cumbria.

Horizon Nuclear Power provided an update on the Wyla Newydd project in Anglesey and their plans for a £20 Billion investment for the UK based on the use of a Hitachi GE AGWR reactor (previously only used in Japan). As in the earlier Moorside discussion, Horizon was also eager to stress that 60% of the project spend would be accessible for UK companies, although critical reactor components would be provided by Japanese supply partners. At the moment, Horizon is in the 2nd stage consultation phase and they’re currently looking at where to base a potential workforce of 5,000-10,000 people. Completion of the development stage is expected to conclude by the end of 2018 and the 1st commercial reactor is anticipated to be in place by mid 2020’s.

The final new build update was presented by EDF Energy and included an overview on the scale of the construction site – installation of 2 EPR reactors; 1 million metre cubed of concrete; 5.6 million metre cubed of earth to be moved; 4000 km of electrical cabling and a target of 64% of the project spend to be accessible to UK companies. 3 command centres are currently being used by EDF to manage the project at the 400 acre site, including 1 in Paris to manage the design; 1 in Bristol for project management, schedule and pre-construction and a site command centre in Somerset. BYLOR (a 50:50 JV of Bouygues and Laing O’Rourke) is responsible for the construction (civil work) and has identified a £2.8 Billion package, which will encompass 1.2 Million metre cubed of concrete; 250,000 tonnes of reinforcement steel (REBAR); 4,200 people (all working for BYLOR) and a build time of 7 years. Costain has the contracts for car parks; jetty and tunnels out to sea (for bringing cooling water to the plant) and will be based as a command centre in Avonmouth.

In addition to a number of SMR presentations that were previously showcased at the SMR conference in London, the Nuclear AMRC announced plans for a new programme combining F4N and CNSiG (currently being promoted as F4N+) and unveiled the opening of a North West hub in Birkenhead on the Cammel Laird site (given Cammel Laird’s desire to expand into the nuclear sector), which the Nuclear AMRC hopes will become a centre of excellence for modular builds in the future.

Craig Kenyon