Three development groups have announced plans to build new nuclear plant in the UK.
These three groups will act as the licensees for nuclear new build, with responsibility for arranging the financing, planning and regulatory approval for new plant.
The UK government is taking a market-led approach to nuclear new build: all new plant will be wholly financed and constructed by the private sector, with no direct subsidy. This means that each group’s decision to invest will depend on economic conditions and financial factors such as capital costs.
The three development groups are introduced below.
EDF Energy is proposing to build four Areva EPR reactors in the UK. EDF entered the UK nuclear generation market in 2009 with its acquisition of British Energy, which operated eight formerly state-owned nuclear power stations. UK utility group Centrica has a 20 per cent stake in the existing stations, but withdrew from a proposed collaboration on new build in February 2013.
EDF is operating through a UK subsidiary called Nuclear New Build Generation Ltd (NNB Gen Co). The venture is proposing to build two EPR generators at Hinkley Point, Somerset, followed by another two at Sizewell, Suffolk, with a total capacity of 6.4GWe.
EDF made a positive final investment decision on Hinkley Point C in July 2016, with an estimated construction cost of £18 billion. The UK government subsequently confirmed its support and signed contracts in September.
The deal follows the commercial terms agreed by EDF Energy and the UK government in October 2013. Electricity from Hinkley Point C will receive a guaranteed price under the “contract for difference” (CFD) regime which also applies to windfarms and other low-carbon sources. The price is £92.50/MWh, linked to the consumer price index. If EDF confirms that it will also build new capacity at Sizewell, that price is reduced to £89.50/MWh to reflect economies of scale.
The procurement process for Hinkley and Sizewell is overseen by NNB Gen Co, and operated by EDF Procurement in Paris. Early requests have been for large packages of work or the supply of specialised plant. Smaller suppliers are unlikely to prequalify on their own, and will need to form consortia or supply agreements with higher-tier suppliers.
Around £1.5 billion worth of contracts were provisionally placed with UK companies ahead of the final investment decision. EDF has named seven top-tier preferred bidders to the project:
- Bouygues TP/Laing O’Rourke – civil works.
- Costain – marine work.
- Alstom Energy (now part of GE) – turbines.
- Areva – instrumentation & control, nuclear steam supply system, fuel.
- Balfour Beatty Bailey – electrical work.
- Cavendish Boccard Nuclear – mechanical pipework and installation.
- Actan – HVAC.
Other preferred bidders include:
- Rolls-Royce – heat exchangers, emergency diesel system.
- Rolls-Royce/Nuvia – reactor coolant processing systems.
- Weir – large pumps for cooling water.
- Clyde Union (now part of SPX Flow) – main pumps for feedwater system and cooling water system.
- ABB UK – power transmission.
- Ovivo – intake water filtration systems.
- Laing O’Rourke – workers’ campus accommodation.
- Premier Interlink WACO UK Ltd – temporary buildings.
EDF will work with China General Nuclear Corporation (CGN) to deliver Hinkley Point C, with CGN taking a 33.5 per cent investment share. The two groups also propose to collaborate on deploying EPRs at Sizewell C (80 per cent EDF; 20 per cent CGN), and the Chinese Hualong HPR1000 reactor at Bradwell in Essex (33.5 per cent EDF; 66.5 per cent CGN).
First concrete for the Hinkley Point C reactor building is expected around mid-2019 (work is already underway on supporting infrastructure including underground galleries), with first electricity generation from the mid-2020s. The second reactor is expected to complete around two years after the first.
For more information on construction at Hinkley, including a detailed construction and tender timeline, see the Hinkley supply chain portal managed by Somerset Chamber of Commerce or download EDF’s Hinkley Point C supply chain booklet.
For information on construction at Sizewell, see the Sizewell C supply chain portal managed by Suffolk and Norfolk Chambers of Commerce.
For information on plans for Bradwell, see the Bradwell B project site.
EDF is currently building an EPR at Flamanville, France, with construction starting in 2007. Completion is expected in 2018.
Horizon Nuclear Power
Horizon Nuclear Power is owned by Hitachi Ltd of Japan. Horizon was founded as a 50/50 joint venture between E.ON UK and RWE npower, and acquired land and agreed connections for Wylfa, Anglesey, and Oldbury, Gloucestershire, with plans to build around 3GWe of new capacity at each site.
Hitachi acquired Horizon in November 2012, and plans to build two or three of its own 1300MWe advanced boiling water reactor (ABWR) plants at each site, beginning with two at Wylfa. The ABWR is still going through the generic design assessment (GDA) process, but Horizon says it expects the first unit to be generating by the mid-2020s.
Hitachi estimates that around 60 per cent by value of the first reactor will be sourced in the UK, with more local input into later plant. Hitachi has signed agreements with Rolls-Royce and Babcock International to plan and deliver the programme, and will establish an assembly facility for its modular construction technology in the UK.
In December 2013, Horizon announced strategic contracts with Amec, Atkins, Cavendish Nuclear (part of Babcock International) and Jacobs Engineering Group, to work for three years on consultancy and technical design for Wylfa Newydd.
Horizon and Hitachi have also signed a co-operation agreement with the UK government to support the financing of a new nuclear plant at Wylfa, subject to due diligence and ministerial approval. Horizon submitted its nuclear site licence application to the ONR in April 2017, and is expecting to receive all necessary permissions by the end of 2018.
Manufacturers can register their interest via Horizon Nuclear Power supplier registration.
NuGeneration Ltd (NuGen) was established as a joint venture between GDF Suez and Iberdrola. It has acquired land at Sellafield, Cumbria, and is intending to build up to 3.6GWe new capacity. Nugen has named its project Moorside.
In 2014, Toshiba acquired all of Iberdrola’s 50 per cent stake plus 10 per cent from GDF Suez (now Engie), which will remain as operator. In 2017, Engie transferred its remaining 40 per cent stake, leaving Toshiba as sole owner of NuGen.
As the majority owner of reactor provider Westinghouse, Toshiba plans to build three AP1000 reactors at Moorside, with the first unit expected to be operational by 2025. NuGen says it will make a final investment decision by the end of 2018.
NuGen has not yet released any information on procurement strategy, but says it is committed to maximising the use of UK-based suppliers and employees. Westinghouse says that “a large portion of the project” will be accessible to the UK supply chain. NuGen has signed agreements with Amec for environmental support for site development.
In October 2015, NuGen launched the Supply to Moorside portal, letting companies sign up for early-stage supply chain updates.