Wales to build £19.5m engineering research centre

First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones (right) visits TWI Technology Centre in Port Talbot. Image: TWI
First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones (right) visits TWI Technology Centre in Port Talbot.

Image: TWI

A new £19.5 million research centre for advanced engineering supporting industries including nuclear and renewable energy is to be built in Wales.

The Advanced Engineering Materials Research Institute (AMERI) at TWI Technology Centre in Port Talbot has received £7.5 million of EU investment to kick-start the construction.

It is expected to create 16 highly skilled jobs as well as train 20 PhD students while supporting engineering and manufacturing businesses through access to its testing facilities.

Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones said: “EU funds for this new facility will result in more collaborative cutting-edge research and development taking place in Wales and will generate significant inward investment through major industrial partnerships.

Read the full article by clicking here 

Source: Energy Live News

Horizon appoints Head of Strategic Development for Wylfa Newydd

Horizon Nuclear Power has announced the appointment of a Head of Strategic Development for Wylfa Newydd.

Horizon

Sasha Wynn Davies joins the Wylfa Newydd team from Conwy County Borough Council where she is Strategic Director (Economy & Place). Previously, Sasha was Head of Economic Development at Isle of Anglesey County Council. She was also Programme Director of the Anglesey Energy Island™ Programme which was created to encourage local energy research and development, production and servicing, bringing with it potentially huge economic rewards.

In her new position at Horizon, Sasha will be based at the Wylfa Newydd office and develop the strategy for the overall, long term, Wylfa Newydd ‘footprint’ in Wales, co-ordinating activities such as local supply chain development, jobs and skills plans and infrastructure working closely with a wide range of key stakeholders in Wales. A fluent Welsh speaker, Sasha will also lead on the development and implementation of Horizon’s Welsh language plans.

Read the full press release here

Source: Horizon Nuclear Power

Sellafield decommissioning deal set to deliver jobs and local investment for a decade

Sellafield Ltd is agreeing what is thought to be the UK’s first ever public procurement that guarantees benefits for the community.

A decade-long package of socioeconomic investment will be delivered via the Decommissioning Delivery Partnership (DDP) framework, including jobs, apprenticeships and work for small and medium-sized businesses.

Under the framework, worth a predicted £500m, the first four confirmed ‘delivery partners’ – made up of 12 companies – will enter a 10-year agreement to support Sellafield Ltd staff on the decommissioning of Europe’s most complex nuclear site.

In order to be chosen, the companies had to demonstrate how they will support Sellafield Ltd’s socioeconomic strategy, with particular emphasis on the key themes of skills, growth and community. They were also assessed on other factors including quality and value during a two-year tendering process.

Of the 12 selected companies, 11 are based in, or have a significant presence in, Cumbria. All have committed at least 20 per cent of their sub-contracting spend with small to medium-sized enterprises.

The successful companies, working as part of four consortia or joint ventures, are now working with Sellafield Ltd to finalise the details of their socioeconomic commitments. Sellafield Ltd is also finalising the framework agreements with two other consortia who were successful in the initial tendering process, and they will be confirmed once legal and commercial arrangements are in place.

Among the pledges given by the selected companies are:

  • a ‘local first’ recruitment approach, with one consortium aiming for 95 per cent of work to be done by Cumbrian workers
  • a commitment to give 150 jobs to ‘under-represented or disadvantaged’ people
  • a commitment to create up to 240 new apprenticeships over the 10 year agreement
  • companies promising to provide training, school outreach and business mentoringAnd, in what is believed to be a first for public spending in the UK, these commitments will be written into the contract, meaning companies would lose out financially if they fail to deliver.

The delivery partners confirmed so far are:

  • Independent data analysis of the £500M DDP framework has found that 1,140 jobs a year could be created or supported during the 10-year contract period.
  • Integrated Decommissioning Solutions (comprising Energy Solutions EU Ltd, Hertel (UK) Ltd, North West Projects Ltd and Westlakes Engineering Ltd)
  • The Nexus Decommissioning Alliance (Costain Oil, Gas and Process)
  • Cumbria Nuclear Solutions Ltd (Shepley Engineers, James Fisher Nuclear Ltd, REACT Engineering Ltd, Jacobs Stobbarts, Westinghouse Electric Company UK Ltd, WYG Engineering Ltd).
  • The Decommissioning Alliance (Jacobs UK Ltd, Energy Solutions EU Limited, Westinghouse Electric Company UK Ltd)

Paul Foster, Managing Director of Sellafield Ltd, said: “Our first priority will always be the safe, secure and cost-effective clean-up of Sellafield.

“But alongside that is a commitment to help deliver a long-term, sustainable economic future for our local community.

“DDP will help achieve this by placing socioeconomic outcomes at the heart of the contract from the outset and by holding contractors to account on delivery.”

“We have listened to our stakeholders and worked with Government, the NDA and our supply chain to design a responsible, sustainable procurement that uses public sector contracts to unlock investment from the private sector, backed up by the power of a legally binding contract.”

A £500m investment under DDP from now until 2025 would represent an expected spend of more than £95 for every minute of the next decade to help clean up the highest priority hazards at Sellafield.

The work to be carried out under the contract has already been mapped out as part of Sellafield’s existing performance plan.

But there is extra ‘headroom’ in the framework of up to £1.5 billion, meaning the total investment could potentially be even greater than the predicted £500m, depending on how Sellafield Ltd prioritises and delivers its work.

Source: Sellafield

 

Areva looks to finalize reactor business sale

AREVA

Areva’s board of directors has given a mandate to its CEO to finalize negotiations on EDF’s acquisition of a majority stake in its nuclear reactor business. The moves follows agreement by the two companies on the final valuation of Areva NP.

EDF

EDF said its board yesterday agreed on a final valuation of Areva NP’s activities at €2.5 billion ($2.7 billion). The companies had earlier agreed on an indicative price of €2.7 billion ($2.9 billion) at the closing date.

EDF noted: “This amount is likely to be adjusted, firstly, upward or downward depending on the financial statements prepared on the date of completion of the transaction, and secondly, with a possible price earn-out of up to €350 million ($382 million) subject to the achievement of certain performance objectives measured after the closing date.”

EDF signs Jaitapur MOU

EDF announced on 26 January that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) for the construction of six EPR units at the Jaitapur site in India’s Maharashtra state.

Its announcement came the day after French president Francois Hollande and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said techno-commercial negotiations for the project will be completed by the end of 2016. A contract for pre-engineering studies was signed by Areva and NPCIL in April 2015.

EDF said, “The goal in the next few months is to continue with the work initiated by Areva and NPCIL in April 2015 to secure certification for the EPR reactor in India and finalize the economic and financial conditions and the technical specifications of the project.”

Areva’s board, which also met yesterday, has now given CEO Philippe Knoche a mandate to finalize the negotiations. However, the company noted that completion of the transaction, scheduled for next year, “remains subject to consultation with employee representative bodies and to the approval of the competent authorities for such a transaction”.

In a statement, EDF said it will be in a position to make a binding offer for Areva NP “after consultation with the Central Works Council and authorization by the board of directors, once the arrangements to completely immunise EDF against the costs and risks of the Olkiluoto 3 project and all the final contractual documentation are finalized”.

In late-July 2015, EDF and Areva announced they had signed a memorandum of understanding that sets out the principal terms and conditions for EDF to take a majority in Areva NP. Areva will hold a stake of between 15% and 25%, allowing the potential participation of other minority partners. In November, Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries said it would prepare a proposal for taking a minority stake in Areva’s reactor business.

At its meeting yesterday, Areva’s board also approved the principle of a capital increase of €5 billion ($5.5 billion), “which aims to restore the group’s balance sheet situation”. It said the French government, as its leading shareholder, “will take part in this and will ensure its success, in compliance with European regulations”.

Areva noted that it will report a net loss in fiscal 2015 due to the recognition of provisions, “in particular for the restructuring announced in May 2015, supplemental costs for Olkiluoto 3 and renewables contracts, the impact of the Cigéo repository project on end-of-lifecycle operations, and an additional write-down of mining assets”.

Source: World Nuclear News

Decision on new nuclear power plant ‘delayed’

Artist's impression of Hinkley Point C plantImage copyright: PA The new nuclear plant will be built next to two existing facilities at Hinkley Point in Somerset

Britain’s first new nuclear power plant in decades could be delayed amid reports an EDF board meeting to decide whether to invest in Hinkley Point Power Station has been postponed.

The French energy firm’s board was expected to meet on Wednesday to finalise the decision.

But French paper Les Echos and environmental group Greenpeace said the decision had now been delayed reportedly due to funding difficulties.

EDF declined to comment on the reports.

In October, EDF agreed a deal under which China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) would pay a third of the cost of the £18bn project in exchange for a 33.5% stake.


Analysis by John Moylan, BBC industry correspondent

Is the plan for Britain’s first new nuclear plant in a generation in trouble?

What is clear is that EDF faces major financial challenges.

Its share price has halved in the past year as falling French power prices have hit earnings.

Its current nuclear build projects in Finland and at Flammenville are over-budget and delayed.

It’s facing a costly refurbishment programme to extend the life of its French nuclear plants. And in Hinkley Point C, it would be committing to a project that will cost more than its current market capitalisation.

It also has to placate its unions, which fear the project could put the entire company at risk

But EDF has already ploughed £2bn into Hinkley. And with so much political capital invested by the French and British governments too, it would be astonishing if EDF was to fall at the final hurdle.


The final investment decision by EDF was expected to be a formality.

But Les Echos said the French firm was struggling to find the cash for its 66.5% stake and was now “putting pressure on the [French] state, which owns 84.5% of EDF, to come up with fresh funds”.

It said a final investment decision would now be made at the earliest at EDF’s annual results on 16 February.

The reports contradict recent statements from EDF chief executive Jean-Bernard Levy who said just a week ago that the “two nuclear reactors that EDF plans to build at Hinkley Point will be launched very soon”.

The site of the Hinkley Point C power stationImage copyright Reuters Hinkley is expected to provide 7% of the UK’s electricity once it is operational

‘Rattled’

Hinkley is due to start generating in 2025, and is expected to provide 7% of the UK’s electricity once it is operational.

But the project was originally due to open in 2017, and it has come under fire for both its cost and delays to the timetable for building.

The government has also been criticised for guaranteeing a price of £92.50 per megawatt hour of electricity – more than twice the current cost – for the electricity Hinkley produces.

Greenpeace executive director John Sauven said: “The EDF board is clearly rattled as they delay yet again this crucial investment decision. It could well signal curtains for Hinkley.

“EDF managers as well as employee representatives on the board are deeply concerned this project is too risky and too expensive.”

Meanwhile, the chief executive of Legal & General has described the project as “a £25bn waste of money”.

Nigel Wilson told BBC 5 live: “The world is moving towards clean green and cheap energy.”

“Solar, wind will play a much more important role. Hinkley is probably the most expensive energy we can think of right across Europe. That’s really bad for society.”

Source: BBC News

New Moorside nuclear plant can help solve energy crisis

Artist's impression of the Westinghouse AP1000 design
Artist’s impression of the Westinghouse AP1000 design

The vital national importance of new nuclear build in west Cumbria is underlined by an influential report published today.

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME) is warning that the country faces a critical “energy supply gap” as a result of the Government’s strategy of closing all coal-fired power stations by 2025.

The problem is aggravated by the planned closure and decommissioning of several nuclear power stations, with those at Hartlepool, Heysham, Hinkley Point, Hunterston and Torness earmarked to close by 2024.

According to the IME’s report, Engineering the UK Electricity Gap, the shortage will force the UK to import up to 55 per cent of its electricity needs from Europe and Scandinavia.

Dr Jenifer Baxter, head of energy and eat the IME, and lead author of the report, said: “The UK is facing an electricity supply crisis. As the population rises and, with the greater use of electricity use in transport and heating, it looks almost certain that demand is going to rise.

Read the full article here 

Source: NewsandStar

Sellafield Ltd strives to stay within budget in ‘crucial’ year ahead

The UK’s Sellafield Ltd plans to make efficiency savings to be able to work within its £2 billion ($2.85 billion) budget for the next financial year as the site “enters the most crucial period in its modern history”. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) secured the sum for Sellafield Ltd as part of the government’s Spending Review, announced in November last year.

From April 1, the NDA is to take ownership of Sellafield Ltd, as part of reforms to management of the site.

The budget announcement was made in the NDA’s draft business plan, which was published on 5 January. It marks an increase in Sellafield’s £1.9 billion budget for the current financial year and “underlines the NDA’s commitment to securing progress in the site’s clean-up program”, Sellafield Ltd said yesterday.

However, the company said it “has made clear that further efficiency savings will be required in order to deliver the scope of work planned for 2016/17”.

John Clarke, chief executive of the NDA, said: “This level of funding for Sellafield reflects tremendous support from government and this will enable us to make vital progress on cleaning up the high hazard facilities at Sellafield, particularly the legacy ponds and silos. But we have made an unequivocal commitment to government that in return we will expect Sellafield Ltd to place the greatest possible emphasis on value for money.”

Paul Foster, Sellafield Ltd managing director, said that although the £2 billion represents increased funding for the site, the scope of work the company needs to deliver “will outstrip our budget unless we drive greater efficiency into everything we do”.

This means, he said, “doing more for less and ensuring we are extracting the maximum value possible from the budget we are given.”

By “crucial phase” in Sellafield’s history, the company was referring to changes to its mission from being an operational nuclear facility into a “fully-fledged decommissioning site”, and as it moves to a new management model as a subsidiary of the NDA.

A year of “landmark progress” is expected at Sellafield in the coming year, it said. All remaining fuel in the Pile Fuel Storage Pond is expected to be cleared during the year and bulk retrievals of sludge and fuel are scheduled to begin from the First Generation Magnox Storage Pond.

All of Sellafield Ltd’s departments have a savings plan which specifies where efficiencies will be made in their area. According to company information, a key focus is commercial efficiencies – ensuring value for money in contract awards. Roughly 60% of its annual spend goes to external organisations.

Some recent efficiencies highlighted in the company’s staff magazineEnergize include more than £1.2 million saved on travel and subsistence in the first six months of 2015/16; £95,000 a month saved by switching to a new printing platform; £75,000 a year saved following improvements to ‘steam traps’ in the Magnox Reprocessing plant.

Regarding its £2 billion budget for the new financial year, an industry source told World Nuclear News today that Sellafield Ltd “would be looking at a nine-figure shortfall unless it achieves planned efficiencies”.

The NDA’s draft Business Plan is out for public consultation until 15 February.

Apprentices

Sellafield Ltd said on 20 January that, as the government looks to create three million more apprenticeships in the UK by 2020, it had been invited as a ‘top UK business’ to debate how to improve apprenticeships in the country.

Apprentice training manager Steve Bewsher and mechanical design apprentice Philip Marwood were selected to represent the company at an apprenticeship celebration event held at 10 Downing Street.

Cameron meets Sellafield apprentices - 460 (Sellafield Ltd)

British prime minister David Cameron meets Sellafield apprentices, Marwood and Bewsher, in Downing Street (Image: Sellafield Ltd)

Bewsher said: “We are immensely proud, along with our training partners Gen2 and Wigan & Leigh College, to welcome a further 165 apprentices this year – taking the total of young people in training with Sellafield Ltd to a landmark 550 apprentices – and to take the lead on developing new top-quality training such as the trailblazer and Degree apprenticeships, and to grow the local skills base to make Cumbria a Centre of Nuclear Excellence.”

 

Source: World Nuclear News