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Government Outlines Support for UK Civil Nuclear Sector Ahead of Copenhagen

posted 22 Jan 2010, 07:57 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 21 Jul 2010, 07:34 ]
Originally Posted: Thursday 3rd December 2009

As part of the Government’s commitment to new low carbon sustainable growth, the Business Secretary Lord Mandelson provided a boost for the UK’s civil nuclear industry today, outlining a package of announcements in Yorkshire and the North West to provide real help to enable British businesses to seize the opportunities this rapidly expanding sector presents.

Speaking at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) in Rotherham he announced:

~  That the new Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC) will be based in Rotherham, South Yorkshire alongside the AMRC, led by Sheffield University in partnership with University of Manchester, with Rolls Royce as the lead industrial partner.

~  An additional £8m to upgrade the nuclear laboratories at Manchester University’s Dalton Nuclear Institute to support the NAMRC. This is in addition to the £15m Government has already committed to the NAMRC.

~  Rolls-Royce's planned civil nuclear factory in South Yorkshire.

~  A Nuclear Low Carbon Economic Area (LCEA) in the North West and Yorkshire, led by NWDA in close collaboration with Yorkshire Forward

As part of the Nuclear LCEA the North West will support the Manufacturing Advisory Service’s (MAS) nuclear services as part of the Nuclear LCEA, offering manufacturing companies advice and support to access the nuclear energy market.

The NAMRC was a commitment under the Low Carbon Industrial Strategy, and is supported by £15m of government funding from the Strategic Investment Fund It will bring together university research and industrial expertise to develop manufacturing techniques and components that will meet the demand for new nuclear power stations. It will also benefit supply chain companies with support in securing accreditation to compete in the civil nuclear sector. Led by Rolls-Royce, founder industrial partners also include Areva, Westinghouse, Sheffield Forgemasters and NAMTEC.

In another boost for South Yorkshire, Rolls-Royce announced its intention in principle to base its new civil nuclear factory in the region. This factory is part of an investment programme that Rolls-Royce announced on 28 July 2009, which included £45m of investment from the Government.

Lord Mandelson said:

“We know that we have to make the transition to a low carbon future, and the Government is determined to ensure that British businesses get the support they need to seize the business opportunities that transition creates. The civil nuclear sector is one of the key low carbon industries where the UK has the potential for job creation, economic growth and engineering and manufacturing excellence. Today’s announcement is about investing in our future. A greener, smarter, more skilled, more balanced British economy.”

Chancellor, Alistair Darling MP also commented:

“It is essential that the UK economy continues to build upon its strengths in the high tech and knowledge based industries so that as we come out of the recession these industries drive forward sustainable growth within the UK and our ability to compete in global markets.

“The NAMRC is a perfect example of how Government, universities and industry can work together to drive that growth
in the UK economy.”

The creation of a Nuclear Low Carbon Economic Area (LCEA) in the North West and Yorkshire will give a focus to investment, developments and skills support which will benefit companies across the UK. With this kind of investment in capabilities, UK companies have the potential to provide up to 80% of the work on construction of new nuclear power plants, and the LCEA will support the development of UK capability to win this business. As part of this the North West Regional Development Agency will build the capacity and capability for MAS NW to provide specialist support to the nuclear supply chin, offering support to the MAS national network to bring the benefits to the whole of the UK.

Business Minister Lord Drayson said:

“Low Carbon Economic Areas will help us focus investment, skills and infrastructure regionally to boost the UK’s national capacity. This nuclear low carbon economic area will combine the advantages of nuclear infrastructure in the North West and advanced manufacturing in Yorkshire, the advanced manufacturing base in the region and the excellent skills and research bases in Manchester and Sheffield universities. By drawing together our activity regionally we can accelerate our capability nationally.”

Energy Minister Lord Hunt outlined the significance of the government’s support for the UK civil nuclear sector in his speech today to the Nuclear Industries Association:

“A global climate deal in Copenhagen needs all countries to make the most ambitious commitments possible, but it will also require us to change how we generate our energy. Nuclear is a low carbon and secure source of energy and must be part of our future energy mix if we're to meet our climate change goals. We've already had commitment from industry to build 16GW of new nuclear in the UK. This manufacturing package will ensure we utilise the skills that we have in this country to make sure those power stations get built.”

Tom Riordan, Chief Executive of Yorkshire Forward said:

“Yorkshire Forward has worked closely with Rolls Royce and the Government to secure both investments and this announcement is incredible news for a part of our region hit hard by the recession. It recognises the cutting edge facilities and the top quality of our academic and business skills base. The UK's nuclear programme is expected to create over 4,500 engineering jobs over the next 25 years and more than a £1bn a year to the industry. This investment, and others like it, puts the region at the very heart of the UK’s energy sector and cements our position as a centre of excellence for manufacturing, to a global marketplace.”