Rolls-Royce has announced plans to collaborate with EDF Energy, the UK business of the French utility group, on programmes that will initially support the construction of four new nuclear power plants in the UK. The agreement covers engineering and technical support during both the pre and post construction phases. In addition, joint development, validation and supervision of the supply chain, together with the potential for the provision of nuclear related systems, will be explored.

Lawrie Haynes, President – Rolls-Royce Nuclear, said: “We are very pleased to be working with EDF Energy and this agreement is another step towards the delivery of our civil nuclear strategy. With the largest proven nuclear supply chain of any UK company Rolls-Royce is uniquely placed to deliver world-class engineering and manufacturing capability to support the delivery of nuclear power programmes both here and around the world. “

In July 2009, Rolls-Royce announced plans to build a new factory to manufacture assemble and test systems and components for nuclear power stations. The facility will have strong links with the UK government-funded Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in which Rolls- Royce will be the lead industrial partner.

Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson, Managing Director of EDF Energy’s Nuclear New Build business said: “As a country we face a significant energy challenge to keep the lights on, tackle climate change and maintain affordable prices. We believe the challenge can be met through greater energy efficiency and the generation of electricity from a diverse range of sources including nuclear and renewables. With the recent combination with British Energy, we are the largest generator of low carbon electricity in Britain.

“We plan to build four new European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) nuclear reactors in the UK at Hinkley Point in Somerset and Sizewell in Suffolk. Subject to the right investment framework being in place we intend to develop 4 EPRs in the UK by 2025 with the first operational by the end of 2017.

“This agreement with Rolls-Royce is a welcome development in ensuring we achieve our new nuclear build plans. Their name is one of the strongest engineering brands in the UK and they have a lot of strength in the nuclear industry including a history of work for British Energy.”

The civil nuclear market is currently worth around £30 billion a year globally and is expected to grow to £50 billion a year in 15 years time, more than 70 per cent of which will relate to the build and support of new facilities. It is estimated that the nuclear programme in the UK will sustain 10 -15,000 jobs over 25 years of which 45% will be engineers.

Rolls-Royce has the largest nuclear skills base in the UK, with an existing nuclear certified supply chain of 260 companies, and supports a number of key phases of a civil nuclear programme, including providing advice to governments and operators as well as technical engineering support. Currently, the Group provides safety-critical instrumentation and control in Europe, the USA and many other international markets, including all 58 operating nuclear facilities in France.