EDF has signed a new membership agreement with the University of Sheffield Nuclear AMRC to drive innovation in low-carbon power generation and support UK manufacturers.
EDF has supported the Nuclear AMRC’s development over the past decade, and the new tier one membership strengthens and deepens the relationship between the two organisations.
Collaboration will focus on research and development to deliver the UK’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, and the goal of the Nuclear Sector Deal to reduce the cost of nuclear new build by 30 per cent.
“With COP26 being hosted in the UK later this year, climate change and reducing our carbon emissions is at the forefront of the social and political agenda,” says Dr Ionel Nistor, Head of Nuclear R&D at EDF. “Nuclear is essential to successfully decarbonise our electricity system as it’s a reliable low-carbon source that can support increased renewables in our energy mix. We look forward to furthering our collaboration with the Nuclear AMRC to ensure the sector continues to innovate and support our efforts to achieve a Net Zero Britain.”
EDF and the Nuclear AMRC will work together in technology areas – including digital twin development, modularisation, and process modelling and simulation – which can reduce costs and improve quality and safety in the construction and operation of nuclear power plant.
“This long-term agreement with EDF will allow us to work together more strategically than before,” says Sean Murphy, Nuclear AMRC Strategic Relationship Manager. “We believe that access to our research and engineering expertise, as well as the wider Nuclear AMRC research network, will be of strong benefit to EDF. Similarly, EDF’s deep industry and R&D knowledge will be extremely valuable to our mission of helping UK manufacturers win work in the nuclear sector.”
The two organisations will also work together to increase the competitiveness and productivity of the UK nuclear supply chain, and develop strong regional supply chains for Hinkley Point and Sizewell. EDF will continue to support the Nuclear AMRC’s supplier development initiatives, including the Fit For Nuclear (F4N) programme which helps manufacturers meet nuclear customer requirements.
Many F4N-granted companies across the UK have already won significant work packages at Hinkley Point C, including Vessco Engineering (based in South Wales), Capula (Staffordshire), Exyte Hargreaves (Lancashire), and Hardstaff Barriers (Nottingham).
“As part of our community of more than 150 member and F4N companies, EDF can help develop and support deeper supply chain collaborations and partnerships,” Murphy says. “Together we can maximise the opportunities for hundreds of UK manufacturers, including many SMEs, during the building of new low-carbon power plants at Hinkley Point and Sizewell.”
EDF is one of the UK’s largest energy companies, and is Britain’s biggest generator of low-carbon electricity. It operates eight nuclear power stations around the UK, and is constructing the new Hinkley Point C plant in Somerset.
Based around two Framatome EPR reactors generating 3.2GW of electricity, Hinkley Point C will produce around seven per cent of the UK’s electricity when it opens in the middle of this decade. EDF is also now in formal discussions with government on building another two EPRs at Sizewell C in Suffolk.
The University of Sheffield Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC) is dedicated to helping UK manufacturers win work in the nuclear supply chain through innovation and business improvement. It is based at the University of Sheffield, and part of the UK’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult.
As a tier one member, EDF will have a seat on the Nuclear AMRC’s programme board and research board to help ensure that the centre’s activities are meeting industry needs. The collaboration will also consider work to support the life extension and eventual decommissioning of EDF’s current fleet of advanced gas-cooled reactors.