The UK EPR Design Centre in Bristol (Photo: EDF Energy)A new engineering design centre has been opened in the UK to support the next phase of construction at the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant, EDF Energy announced on 15 July.

The UK EPR Design Centre at Aztec West in Bristol brings nuclear designers and engineers together from EDF and UK engineering partners and suppliers.

The team will be able to quickly resolve issues to support the construction and commissioning programme, using their experience of the EPR nuclear reactor design and UK regulatory environment, EDF said. This approach draws on experience from other EPR construction projects and is another of the innovations helping to drive efficiency and productivity at Hinkley Point C.

EDF said some 700 people from different companies from the UK and abroad will be employed at the UK EPR Design Centre by 2021. It will bring an additional 300 jobs to the UK to support the design, construction and commissioning of UK EPR nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point C in Somerset and Sizewell C in Suffolk. It will build the long-term skills needed to support operation of the power stations.

The UK EPR Design Centre will bring together a number of supply and engineering firms including EDF, Framatome UK, Atkins, Jacobs, Assystem, Anotech and Vulcain.

Blackburn-based nuclear engineering firm Assystem recently announced the creation of 100 jobs in the UK to support construction at Hinkley Point C.

EDF said that, for Sizewell C, much of the design of Hinkley Point C will be replicated, reducing risk to cost and schedule. The UK EPR Design Centre team will use its experience of the Hinkley Point C design to ensure success of the replication strategy for Sizewell C.

Tilly Spencer, Director of Edvance UK, who is leading the UK EPR Design Centre, said: "The UK EPR Design Centre creates a collaborative environment with key strategic partners to grow the UK's design engineering long term capability and skills. We are bringing together a diverse group of people with the right skills and experience of the UK context and global nuclear industry which will help us as we move into the next phases of construction at Hinkley Point C and look ahead to replicate not only the design, but also the learnings, at Sizewell."

Photo: The UK EPR Design Centre in Bristol (Photo: EDF Energy)