Chinese companies look to the UK

12 April 2016

UK-based Amec Foster Wheeler on 7 April signed an agreement with nuclear plant constructor China Nuclear Engineering and Construction Corporation (CNECC) to potentially cooperate in the nuclear industry, Amec Foster Wheeler said in a statement. Amec and CNECC have made a commitment to work together on nuclear power development, construction, operation and decommissioning projects worldwide, the statement said. Amec said the two companies have agreed to exchange expertise in reactor operation, outage and ageing management, lifetime extension and refurbishing of existing units, and training. The agreement was signed in Beijing during a nuclear industry trade mission organised by UK Trade & Investment department and the China-Britain Business Council.

According to Amec, CNECC is "expected" to use Amec's GBP2m ($3m) High-Temperature Facility (HTF) as part of possible mutual efforts for the deployment of high-temperature gas-cooled reactors in the UK and internationally. This facility will carry out testing and research on materials capable of withstanding temperatures of up to 1,000°C.

CNECC is currently building a demonstration high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTR) in China. "High-temperature reactors have great potential to provide safe, clean and sustainable energy for the future," commented Tom Jones, vice-president of Amec Foster Wheeler's clean energy business. "We hope that our collaboration with CNECC will help the UK and China to realise the potential benefits of this tremendously important technology." Amec noted: "It is the first time CNECC has agreed to collaborate with a global engineering consultancy on the deployment of high-temperature reactors in the UK and internationally".

Meanwhile, Rolls-Royce and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) strengthened their collaboration by signing further contracts on 6 April. The two companies have agreed specific engineering and consultancy services to be provided by Rolls-Royce to CNNC, including the provision of training. The contracts cover technical training packages, including the utilisation of CNNC Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) experts to support Rolls-Royce in the UK. Rolls-Royce has significant nuclear expertise, including providing advice to governments and operators, supply chain management and manufacturing and technical engineering support. Today, we supply safety-critical I&C technology to more than 70% of nuclear reactors in operation or under construction in China and Emergency Diesel Generators to almost 40%.

Rolls Royce said the contract underlines the progress made since the two companies signed an initial agreement in June 2014 to explore areas to work more closely together.

Rolls-Royce President Nuclear Harry Holt said the contract "demonstrates the progress that both companies have made towards the development of a trusted and robust partnership that can benefit the UK and China nuclear industries". He noted: "We already have a strong relationship with CNNC in China where we have been supplying our safety-critical Instrumentation and Control (I&C) technology for over 20 years. Expanding this scope to the provision of nuclear services is excellent news for us."

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