EDF and U.K.’s Nuclear AMRC step up partnership

May 14, 2021, 12:07PMNuclear News
“Big Carl,” the world’s largest land-based crane, lifts the second of three prefabricated steel rings that will form the reinforced cylinder around the nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point C from its bunker to a lay-down area in late April. (Photo: EDF)

EDF has signed a new membership agreement with the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) to drive innovation in low-carbon power generation and support U.K. manufacturers, the University of Sheffield–based center announced recently.

According to the announcement, while EDF has supported the Nuclear AMRC’s development over the past decade, the utility’s new tier-one membership with the center “strengthens and deepens the relationship.” As a tier-one member, EDF will hold a seat on the center’s program and research board to help guarantee that Nuclear AMRC activities are meeting industry needs, the announcement stated. It added that the collaboration will focus on research and development to meet the United Kingdom’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 and the Nuclear Sector Deal’s goal of lowering the cost of nuclear new build by 30 percent.

Supply support: EDF and the Nuclear AMRC will also work to increase the competitiveness and productivity of the U.K. nuclear supply chain and develop strong regional supply chains for EDF’s Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C projects, the announcement noted. In addition, EDF will continue to support the Nuclear AMRC’s supplier-development initiatives, including the Fit for Nuclear (F4N) program, which assists manufacturers in meeting nuclear customer requirements. (Many F4N-granted companies across the United Kingdom have already won significant work packages at Hinkley Point C, according to the center, including Vessco Engineering, Capula, Exyte Hargreaves, and Hardstaff Barriers.)

Vocal support: “With COP26 being hosted in the U.K. later this year [in Glasgow, Scotland, November 1–12], climate change and reducing our carbon emissions is at the forefront of the social and political agenda,” said Ionel Nistor, head of nuclear R&D at EDF. “Nuclear is essential to successfully decarbonize our electricity system, as it’s a reliable, low-carbon source that can support increased renewables in our energy mix. We look forward to furthering our collaboration with the Nuclear AMRC to ensure the sector continues to innovate and support our efforts to achieve a net-zero Britain.”

Commenting on the supply chain aspects of the partnership, Sean Murphy, Nuclear AMRC’s strategic relationship manager, said, “As part of our community of more than 150 member and F4N companies, EDF can help develop and support deeper supply chain collaborations and partnerships. Together, we can maximize the opportunities for hundreds of U.K. manufacturers, including many [small and medium enterprises], during the building of new low-carbon power plants at Hinkley Point and Sizewell.”

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