UK Government

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills: Government Outlines Support for UK Civil Nuclear Sector Ahead of Copenhagen

Press Release   •   Dec 03, 2009 11:19 GMT

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 Sheffield he announced:

  • That the new Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC) will be based in South Yorkshire alongside the AMRC, led by University of Sheffield 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 and £10m from Yorkshire Forward. 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 confirmed its intention to base its planned 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.”

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.

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.”

Notes to editors

1.      The Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre was announced in the Low Carbon Industrial Strategy published in July:  http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file52002.pdf.

2.      The NAMRC (www.namrc.co.uk) follows the same operating model as the already established and world renowned Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre that focuses on aerospace at Sheffield.  www.amrc.co.uk.

3.      The additional £8m to upgrade the nuclear laboratories at Manchester University’s Dalton Nuclear Institute is made up of £4m from BIS and £4m from NWDA.

4.      The Centre will be owned and operated by the University of Sheffield in collaboration with the University of Manchester.  The Centre will be a consortium with industrial partners.  It is envisaged that there would be around 30-50 manufacturing companies that will form a key segment of the UK civil nuclear new industry.

5.      Over the next 18 months it is estimated that the NAMRC would have created around 130 direct full time equivalent jobs in the construction phase and at least 50 jobs in advanced manufacturing and manufacturing support functions.

6.      The North West of England and Yorkshire Nuclear Energy Low Carbon Economic Area’s funding support for an upgrade in the research facilities at the University of Manchester to support the UK civil nuclear industry and the NAMRC is being provided jointly by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills and the North West Development Agency.

7.      Rolls-Royce, a world-leading provider of power systems and services for use on land, at sea and in the air, has established a strong position in global markets - civil aerospace, defence aerospace, marine and energy.

8.      In 2008, Rolls-Royce and its partners invested £885 million on research and development, two thirds of which had the objective of further improving the environmental aspects of its products, in particular the reduction of emissions.

9.      Annual underlying revenues were £9.1 billion in 2008, of which 52 per cent came from services revenues.  The firm and announced order book stood at £57.5 billion at 30 June 2009, providing visibility of future levels of activity.

10. For further information on the MAS nuclear and low carbon services, contact 0845 658 9600 or see the website info@mas-uk.org.uk.

11. Additional information on nuclear business opportunities is available from the Nuclear Industries Association at www.nuclearsupplychain.com.

Department for Business, Innovation & Skills

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing in our future.

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