F4N support for Welsh manufacturers

Welsh manufacturers wanting to get ready for opportunities in the nuclear industry can now claim additional support from the Welsh Government.

Economy secretary Ken Skates announced a second tranche of funding worth £450,000 to support 50 Welsh companies through the Fit For Nuclear programme.

“The nuclear sector will provide a wide range of business opportunities over the next 20 years and we want to ensure that businesses in Wales are in a position to bid for and win a share of this business,” said Skates. “In Wales, research has identified that Welsh businesses have the potential, with the relevant accreditations and organisational systems, to compete for a significant proportion of nuclear sector contracts both in Wales and further afield, and Welsh Government is eager to support business efforts to maximise their share for the benefit of the Welsh economy.”

F4N skyline

Fit For Nuclear (F4N) is a unique service, developed and delivered by the Nuclear AMRC, to help UK manufacturers get ready to bid for work in the civil nuclear supply chain. The programme enables companies to measure their operations against the standards required to supply the nuclear industry – in new build, operations and decommissioning – and take the necessary steps to close any gaps.

The Welsh Government is currently supporting an initial 20 companies through the programme.

“The 20 Welsh companies currently working through the F4N programme have highlighted the wealth of high-quality manufacturers in Wales which could meet the demands of the nuclear industry,” said Helen Arthur, F4N programme manager. “We are very excited to continue working with the Welsh Government to make sure that more Welsh manufacturers can access our support and get ready to win work in the nuclear supply chain at home and worldwide.”

Expressions of interest are now being sought from businesses in Wales wishing to participate in the F4N programme – companies must register by 9 August 2017.

Eligible companies must have a manufacturing facility in Wales, a turnover of £1.6m or above and employ 10 or more people. For more information and to register interest, go to the Business Wales F4N site or email DigwyddiadauNiwclear.NuclearEvents@wales.gsi.gov.uk

 

NDA supply chain event

Thursday 2 November, Manchester.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and its site licence companies present their seventh annual supply chain event.

The 2017 NDA estate supply chain event, Delivering change together, aims to highlight opportunities along the supply chain, particularly for small and medium-sized businesses, and will include presentations from the NDA, site licence companies and key government speakers.

NDA logo

Last year’s showcase event attracted around 1,600 delegates, providing opportunities to network with more than 280 exhibiting companies. The event has a particular focus on SMEs, and aims to attract new businesses to the nuclear decommissioning sector.

Registration is free. For more information, go to: www.decommsupplyevent.co.uk

See our nuclear decommissioning intelligence page for more information on the opportunities for manufacturers.

Nuclear AMRC opens new modular manufacturing R&D centre in Birkenhead

The Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre has opened its new modular manufacturing R&D centre, at the Birkenhead site of member company Cammell Laird.

The launch marks the start of a research collaboration led by Cammell Laird to develop modular manufacturing techniques to support the UK’s nuclear new build programme.

The Nuclear AMRC, part of the UK’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult, works with UK manufacturers of all sizes to help them win work in the nuclear power sector. Its research factory on the Advanced Manufacturing Park in South Yorkshire is home to over £30 million worth of state-of-the-art machining, welding and inspection facilities, all of which are available for companies to use in collaborative R&D projects.

The new facility expands the Nuclear AMRC’s capabilities into modular manufacturing. Modular manufacturing involves the off-site assembly of large-scale complex systems, which are then transported to site for final installation.

Modular techniques are already widely used in shipbuilding, aerospace and other safety-critical industries. In the nuclear sector, they can significantly reduce construction risk and help deliver new power stations to schedule and cost.

The Nuclear AMRC Birkenhead facility was officially opened on Tuesday 4 July, with a launch event attended by around 50 industry delegates.

Birkenhead Brown Lester Elsy Storer

The event featured presentations from (L-R) Jonathan Brown, managing director for energy at Cammell Laird; Craig Lester, executive director for nuclear strategy at BEIS; Dick Elsy, chief executive officer for the High Value Manufacturing Catapult; and Andrew Storer, managing director of the Nuclear AMRC.

With over 1,000m2 of workshop space, the new facility will host specialised machining, joining and assembly equipment to develop and prove modular manufacturing techniques for nuclear applications. Work will address modular manufacturing for new reactors of all sizes, as well as the challenges of decommissioning and waste management.

Andrew Storer, managing director of the Nuclear AMRC, said: “Our new Birkenhead facility extends our capabilities into an area of huge interest and importance to the nuclear industry. Modularisation reduces risk in manufacturing and construction, and will help developers build new power stations on schedule and on budget, meeting our national targets for secure, cost-effective, low-carbon electricity generation.

“The manufacturing techniques we will develop at the new facility can also help improve production efficiency and costs in other parts of the nuclear market, for example in the manufacture of large numbers of standardised waste boxes for the decommissioning programme.

“Our Birkenhead facility is the first of a new network of regional supply chain hubs, which will help us provide on-the-ground support to companies of all sizes across the UK. Birkenhead is ideally placed for the established nuclear cluster in North West England as well as the Wylfa new build site in North Wales. We want to help companies based in this region to become Fit For Nuclear and win work in the nuclear sector at home and worldwide.”

Cammell Laird aerial

The Nuclear AMRC Birkenhead facility is hosted by Cammell Laird, which joined the Nuclear AMRC as a tier one member earlier this year. Cammell Laird’s 120-acre site on the Mersey features four dry docks, a non-tidal wet basin, a large modular construction hall and extensive covered workshops. The company has been involved with the UK’s nuclear sector for a number of years, and is positioning itself as a world-leading hub of modular manufacturing expertise.

Cammell Laird is now leading a new research project with funding from the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) through the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI).

The project, called Fit For Modules, aims to develop the UK supply chain into a world-leading provider of modular manufacturing techniques for nuclear and other high-value energy sectors. The research consortium – including the Nuclear AMRC, Laing O’Rourke, Arup and Frazer-Nash Consultancy – will work with industry and regulators to map the challenges and opportunities of modularisation.

Jonathan Brown, managing director of Cammell Laird’s energy division, said: “Modularisation is widely applied on shipbuilding, civil construction and a number of other sectors where it is demonstrated to bring significant benefits in terms of cost reductions and improved schedule performance. We are confident that when applied correctly within the nuclear sector we will see similar benefits.”

The first stage of the project will produce a detailed study showing how the development of modular techniques can support the UK’s nuclear new build programme, and identifying what research and investment are needed to turn the UK into the world leader in off-site modular construction for the nuclear industry.

Immediately after the launch event, Cammell Laird hosted a two-day industry workshop to discuss modularisation challenges associated with process and methods, technologies and techniques, and people and culture. The project will also consider financial and supply chain issues around modularisation.

At the end of the first year-long phase, the consortium will publish a technology roadmap detailing how the required technologies and capabilities can be developed over the next five years. The report will be shared with industry, including the 120+ manufacturers who have completed the Nuclear AMRC’s Fit For Nuclear (F4N) supplier development programme.