Cavendish Nuclear has signed a five-year, £7.5 million contract to support the continued operation EDF Energy's fleet of Advanced Gas-Cooled Reactors in the UK.

The agreement includes the provision of specialists and equipment to stations to carry out inspections of the graphite blocks in the reactor cores.

Cavendish said inspections used to be delivered on an outage-by-outage basis under contracts with individual stations, which deterred long-term investment in skills, planning and equipment.

The new fleet-wide contract will include 12-month equipment and resource plans. It hopes to cut rework due to short timescale planning and reduce overheads for planned work and new repairs.

“Establishing this long-term contract has secured a more efficient, sustainable, flexible and resilient service for graphite inspections across the AGR fleet," commented Sue Walker, who manages EDF Energy’s graphite team. "Long-term partnerships like this are an essential part of ensuring that EDF Energy’s nuclear stations continue to provide secure, affordable low carbon electricity for the UK.”

EDF currently operates a fleet of 15 reactors: 14 AGRs and one pressurised water reactor, Sizewell B. It is also building Hinkley Point C in Somerset and planning another two-unit EPR plant at Sizewell C in partnership with China General Nuclear.

Photo:  Philip Awty, project manager for graphite inspection at Cavendish Nuclear, and Sue Walker, who manages EDF Energy’s graphite team sign the contract