Nuclear industry could play vital role in UK’s economic recovery

Hinkley Point C nuclear plant. Image: EDF Energy
Hinkley Point C nuclear plant. Image: EDF Energy

The South West’s nuclear industry can play a vital role in supporting the UK’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. This is according to Nuclear South West.

Nuclear South West’s vice chair Stefan Cecchini has told leading industry figures that the region’s skills, research expertise, supply chain and delivery capacity makes it ideally placed to lead a programme of renewal.

Research has identified opportunities worth around £50 billion are available to the UK from nuclear investment over the next 20 years. Progress at the £18 billion construction at Hinkley Point C nuclear power station sits at the heart of this programme and will also play a key role in helping the UK achieve is ambitions for carbon neutrality in the coming decades.

“The south west has demonstrated the ability and capability to match the scale of the ambition for the economic and environmental challenges we all face,” said Mr Cecchini, who also works for Tier 1 Hinkley Point C contractor Framatome UK.

“Europe’s largest construction project at Hinkley Point C has recently seen the completion of the 49,000-tonne base for the second reactor, which was delivered on time during lockdown. The Hinkley Supply Chain team is actively supporting the project as it enters the its next phase of work, which will see opportunities for companies from across the South West.

“We are also looking ahead to how we can secure a lasting legacy for the South West and the UK, drawing on the vast range of research and technical experience in the nuclear sector to bring forward new opportunities.”

The update comes as the government looks at ways to accelerate the design of the UK’s first nuclear fusion power station, which it has supported with a commitment to invest £220 million.

In addition to the activity at Hinkley Point C, which builds on a history of nuclear generation in the area which has employed thousands of people dating back to the 1960s, areas of expertise based within the region include:


  • Decommissioning, with a major programme of work underway at reactors at Winfrith, Dorset, and at sites in Oldbury and Berkley.

  • A significant defence programme, with huge supply chain opportunities. In Plymouth, Devonport Dockyard operator Babcock has a pipeline of more than £30 billion.

  • World-leading research and development capabilities, with ground-breaking and innovative work taking place at the Universities of Bristol, Bath, Exeter and Plymouth. The South West Nuclear Hub is leading the way in improving research capacity and building strong links between universities, industry and SMEs.

Organisations based in the region including names like EDF Energy, Rolls Royce and BAE Systems.

Nuclear South West www.nuclearsouthwest.co.uk

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