Britain and France expand civil nuclear cooperation

20 February 2012

Britain and France have signed a landmark deal to cooperate on civil nuclear energy. New agreements cover cooperation on civil nuclear security, research and development and nuclear education and training.

The move can be seen as positive for nuclear new build in the UK and has already spurred a raft of commercial deals between British and French firms.

“The deals signed today will create more than 1500 jobs in the UK but they are just the beginning,” said UK prime minister David Cameron.

“I want the vast majority of the content of our new nuclear plants to be constructed, manufactured and engineered by British companies. And we will choose the partners and technologies to maximize the economic benefits to the UK."

The deals signed, 17 February, include a £400 million ($634 million) deal on nuclear reactors between Roll- Royce and Areva, which will underpin a new Rolls-Royce factory in Rotherham, South Yorkshire. Under this deal Rolls-Royce will manufacture complex components and provide engineering and technical services for the first of two EPRs to be built at Hinkley Point, Somerset (value £100 million) where Areva is providing the NSSS. The agreement provides for similar values of work for future EPR projects in the UK.

A second £100 million contract has been signed between EDF and Keir BAM for preliminary works at Hinkley Point C. Work is expected to begin in the spring, according to EDF and could create around 350 jobs in South West England.

Finally, EDF has signed a memorandum of understanding with Bridgewater College in Somerset to provide £15 million in funding for a new training campus for EDF employees, new starters and local community. EDF has already appointed BDG architecture+design as architects for the proposed facility.

In addition, both countries have also called for further studies into electricity interconnection between the UK and France.

Daniel Grosvenor, head of Deloitte’s nuclear team said: “Britain and France signing an agreement to co-operate on civil nuclear energy, is good news. It will add to the momentum for the construction of a new generation of power plants in the UK and is a positive step for the nuclear industries in both countries."

"However, big issues remain outstanding if the UK is going to deliver new nuclear build, including Electricity Market Reform and securing approval from the infrastructure planning commission (IPC)."

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