Utilities are planning some £40bn of investment in new nuclear plant by 2025, providing a major opportunity for
companies. the approval for preparatory works by West Somerset District Council at Hinkley Point C in North Somerset has started the road to new nuclear build. Once Hinkley Point building work begins it is expected that thereafter new reactor builds could commence as frequently as every 18-24 months. UK
An NIA report into the UK Supply Chain’s capability to deliver a new nuclear programme, updated in 2008, concluded that 70% of the scope by value of these reactors could be supplied by UK companies - more with further investment. If this were achieved, and on the basis of a capital cost of £2m per Mwe, UK orders worth more than £4,500m could conceivably be available for a twin unit EPR, and £3,500m for a twin unit AP1000.
To win these orders potential UK suppliers will need to demonstrate that the equipment and services they are offering are both commercially competitive and meet the required standards (see separate Guide to Quality and Accreditation). However if they can do so the nuclear new build programme could lead to a progressive growth in nuclear engineering manufacture and construction activity on a scale not seen since the 1970s. Moreover the nuclear industry would need to expand its supply chain base, and there could be major opportunities for those companies who can make the right offer to become involved.
Significant orders are expected to start developing from 2012/2013 onwards. These will cover a wide spectrum of services ranging from the provision of mechanical and electrical equipment to civil materials such as structural steel and concrete etc. The initial contracts are likely to relate to construction support, for example construction equipment, trailers, temporary offices, storage facilities etc and should provide many opportunities for SMEs with the relevant capabilities.
The top-level contracts for this work will be let by the new build consortia and the reactor vendors. EDF Energy, which is the most advanced in its new build plans, has already announced that it will procure more than 150 significant packages for its proposed EPR stations.
We shall be producing some guidance on routes to market. In the meantime the best way to keep abreast of potential opportunities is to register on this website and on the supply chain portals of the key players set out on our home page.
Whilst the new build programme represents the greatest opportunity for companies new to the nuclear sector there could also be opportunities in decommissioning. Decommissioning and clean up of seven first generation Magnox stations is now well underway, as well as a range of other facilities, including research, fuel facilities and prototype plants.
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), which was established to supervise this work, will be spending around £8bn over the next three years. More information on decommissioning opportunities can be found by visiting the ‘Decommissioning’ tab on the left of the home page.