UK awards nuclear research contracts

28 July 2017

Richard HarringtonAmec Foster Wheeler and Frazer-Nash both announced this week that they had been appointed by the UK government to lead nuclear power research and development projects.

Amec Foster Wheeler has been awarded a £2.9 million contract from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to set up and run a UK Digital Reactor Design partnership. The partnership will use virtual engineering and high-performance computing to enhance the techniques used to design reactors and optimise their performance.

Industry, academia and science, will be involved in the partnership, including the University of Liverpool’s Virtual Engineering Centre, the Hartree Centre, National Nuclear Laboratory, Rolls-Royce, EDF Energy, the University of Cambridge and Imperial College London.

“We are delighted to be working with BEIS and our partners to establish a virtual network that will enhance the techniques used in reactor design, in assessing how reactors will perform during their operating life and how this can be optimised,” said Clive White, President of Amec Foster Wheeler Clean Energy.

White added the overall objective is to “enhance reactor design capability and assist UK industry to play a crucial role in our future energy security.”

Frazer-Nash wins a trio of contracts

Systems and engineering technology consultancy, Frazer-Nash, has also been selected by BEIS to deliver three major contracts in support of the UK government’s nuclear R&D programme.

Project FOCUS will deliver a national R&D plan to advance the UK's capabilities in nuclear reactor design justification. Project FORTE will deliver R&D that underpins the development, safety and efficiency of the next generation of nuclear reactor designs in the area of heat transfer and fluid flow. Project FORCE will deliver R&D to support the development of the UK's capability in nuclear materials, advanced manufacturing and modular construction for future.

"We are very excited to be part of this collaborative programme, supporting key projects that recognise the importance of nuclear innovation in enabling delivery of government's commitment to clean, secure and affordable energy," commented Nial Greeves, Senior Business Executive for Power at Frazer-Nash.

Bigger picture

In November 2016, the UK government launched an initial nuclear R&D programme worth over £20 million to support innovation in the civil nuclear sector across five main areas. This includes

  • £6m for advanced nuclear fuels
  • £5m for next generation nuclear reactor design,
  • £5m for nuclear materials, advanced manufacturing and modular construction,
  • £2m for fuel recycling processes and
  • £2 million to continue the development of a suite of toolkits and underpinning data to aid the government's future decision making in the nuclear sector.

According to the BEIS website, contracts worth up to £12.5m have been awarded to date. In June, the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) announced it had won contracts worth £7m for R&D on advanced nuclear fuels and fuel recycling.

Photo: Richard Harrington MP, Energy Minister at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said the work has "a big part to play" in delivering the Government's Clean Growth Plan and Industrial Strategy.



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