EDF Energy has signed a number of contracts to support the continued operation of its UK reactor fleet, which supplies around a sixth of the UK’s electricity.

A strategic nuclear partnership has been signed between EDF Energy, Amec Foster Wheeler, Cavendish Nuclear, Atkins and Doosan Babcock to share knowledge and expertise in support of the nuclear stations.

Cavendish Nuclear said the agreement with EDF means it will continue to provide fuel route and other services to EDF Energy’s seven advanced gas-cooled reactor (AGR) stations for the remainder of their operating lives. It also covers services to EDF Energy’s pressurised water reactor, Sizewell B. The agreement is expected to secure 400 jobs for Cavendish Nuclear employees across the UK.

Chris Ball, managing director of Atkins’ nuclear business, said the Interface Agreement is a key milestone in furthering Atkins’ relationship which EDF Energy. "We will continue to approach our work for EDF Energy in an integrated way, bringing together technical expertise, project delivery and safety case assurance," Ball said.

Atkins has provided more than 600 man-years of support to EDF energy in the last three years, working across the graphite core, fuel route improvement, periodic safety review, Japanese Emergency Response, and plant lifetime extension programmes.

A separate contract with Cavendish Nuclear, part of Babcock International, covers inspections of graphite in the reactors, maintaining gas circulators and providing support at all the EDF Energy nuclear stations. The agreement is worth around £40 million a year.

Finally, a contract with Cape plc covers the supply of access, insulation and services in support of all EDF Energy’s nuclear power stations. The deal is estimated to be worth £150 million over five years. EDF says the contract will safeguard around 300 jobs, plus 200 during outage maintenance periods.

Roger Hardy, Cavendish Nuclear Managing Director, said: "We are delighted to sign these two agreements today. Cavendish Nuclear, along with the other Strategic Partners, are committed to supporting EDF Energy in their vital mission of keeping the lights on in the UK. These agreements provide us with the structure to do that and to safely maximise the output from EDF Energy’s existing fleet of nuclear stations."

EDF Energy announced the three contracts along with its planned life extension for Dungeness B on 20 January.