Upcoming funding opportunity: protecting people working in hazardous environments

Sellafield Ltd will invest up to £850,000 excluding VAT in innovative projects that will better equip and support nuclear decommissioning operators working in hazardous environments.

The aim of this competition is to enable operators to carry out tasks safer, quicker and cheaper while being more comfortable in their working environment. This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition.

Your proposal should be an integrated solution that solves or alleviates challenges for people operating in radioactive environments.

To be in scope your innovation needs to achieve more than one of the following objectives that will lead to safer, faster, and cheaper solutions:

1. Optimise activities to reduce the time and complexity of tasks before entering a radioactive area such as hazard identification and location and task scheduling.

2. Protect the operator from the radiological and conventional hazards present, like exposure to radiation and contamination, physical injury and heat stress (for more detail, see the tender document).

3. Improve the working experience and productivity of the operator by providing such things as:

  • enhancement of senses like hearing, touch and vision
  • improved communications
  • more comfortable operating conditions such as temperature and humidity
  • greater capability (strength, dexterity, flexibility)
  • reduced risk to environmental hazards, both nuclear and conventional
  • better real-time information to the operator and supervisor such as environment, task progress and operator health

4. Provide a solution that reduces waste through either better disposal, packaging, reuse or recycling.

5. Minimise the amount of time and effort required from support teams.

To find out more about this funding opportunity and find potential collaborators register for one of the SBRI: Protecting Nuclear Decommissioning Operators Brokerage Events where we will be seeking to bring solutions together from a wide range of sectors, from creative industries to space applications.

Find out more about the UK wide events by clicking on the links below

London – 24th April – (will also be available via webcast)

Penrith – 2nd May

Birmingham – 10th May

Ovivo tasks SC Innovation with testing water filtration components for Hinkley Point ‘C’

SC Innovation, the design and engineering arm of Devon based SC Group, has completed structural tests on key water filtration components for Ovivo UK, which is supplying the cooling water intake screening system for Hinkley Point ‘C’.

The tests, which were conducted in January at SC Innovation’s Dunkeswell facility and witnessed by representatives from Ovivo UK, assessed the structural strength of the proposed mesh panels to be used for the Drum Screen. This is a key part of the cooling water intake screening system, which will be used to cool both the electricity generating steam-cycle and the nuclear reactor services of the new nuclear power plant.

The 1m x 1.5m mesh panels will be fitted to four 27m diameter drums, which complete a full rotation every 35 minutes. Water enters from the side and flows through the panels radially from the inside to the outside, filtering through the mesh. The debris collected in the mesh is then cleaned using jets of water and a hopper.

The tests examined potential deformation by applying pressure cycles to the mesh to determine whether the mesh would withstand service at its maximum design pressure. Three different meshes were successfully tested at various pressure increments to a maximum of 3.5 times the mesh design pressure, without a single failure. Linear Variable Displacement Transducers (LVDT’s) continuously captured displacement measurements at various positions on the mesh whilst also recording pressure and temperature measurements. The data captured was recorded and analysed using state of the art data acquisition software configured for this test by SC Innovation.

SC Innovation won the project from Ovivo UK based on the comprehensive engineering capabilities available across SC Group and its agility, original thinking and rigorous approach to planning, testing and reporting.

Joe WilcoxHead of SC Innovation, commented, “This project fits within one of our core competencies; delivering engineering projects demanding high levels of compliance with strict regulatory and technical standards. We worked closely with Ovivo UK to complete the project successfully, matching our capabilities to their requirements along the way and positioning ourselves to pursue further opportunities in the nuclear sector in new build, existing generation and decommissioning”.

Ovivo UK have been awarded the contract to supply Nuclear New Build (NNB) / Électricité de France S.A. (EDF; Electricity of France) with the water inlet system for the Hinkley Point ‘C’ (HPC) Nuclear Power Station, which will be one of the largest filtration systems in the world when installed.  As part of the Contract Ovivo are required to test the filtration mesh panel system to demonstrate that it can achieve the required performance parameters based on the various load conditions that the equipment will be expected to encounter during its working life.

Ovivo are currently working with the HPC Supply Chain Support Team at the Somerset Energy Innovation Centre in Bridgwater to identify and engage local fabrication companies and test houses. Having undertaken an extensive review of the local test houses Ovivo have engaged SC Innovation, who are based in Dunkeswell, Devon, to undertake the testing programme for the mesh panels.

SC Innovation’s experience coupled with their high standards and professional approach has resulted in the successful testing of the filtration mesh panels, which in turn has allowed Ovivo to complete a significant design milestone”, said Sid Jones, Supply Chain Manager, Ovivo UK.

SC Innovation is F4N (Fit for Nuclear) accredited and the project is its second for Hinkley Point C, following on from providing Engineering Design and Project Management Support to Blackhill Engineering, also part of SC Group, in delivering heavy steel structures for the temporary jetty at the Hinkley Point C site near Bridgwater.

SC Innovation’s engineering capabilities are in mechanical and electrical engineering, structural analysis, structural optimisation, fluid structural simulation and test and validation, including full system prototype build.  The business has an established production capability carrying out low rate, high quality builds. Together with the in-house project management team these capabilities have combined to deliver projects for energy and marine customers, often in partnership with academic and industrial partners.

Hinkley Point C is the first nuclear power plant to be built in the UK for decades and is one of Europe’s biggest construction sites. The project will create 25,000 job opportunities and aims to create 1,000 apprenticeships during construction.


The EFINOR group has signed major contract for the Hinkley Point C EPR

In October 2017, EFINOR signed the contract for the design, manufacturing and installation of the 2 main control rooms, the simulator and the six adjacent rooms of the 2 units at the Hinkley Point C EPR, at Bridgwater in Somerset for EDF Energy Nuclear New Build (NNB).

This New Engineering Contract valued at £ 20 million has been awarded to the consortium EFINOR & CLEMESSY, the EFINOR group will take the lead of the contract which will covers 4 years of design studies, 4 years of manufacturing and 5 years of on-site erection and will create job opportunities in France and the UK. EFINOR is in charge of the design, installation, testing and commissioning works for the steel structures and layout. CLEMESSY is in charge of the design, installation, testing and commissioning works for the electricity / monitoring & control package. This project allows CLEMESSY Nucléaire to gain a foothold in the nuclear market in England and to launch the development of the subsidiary CLEMESSY UK.
As a global project provider EFINOR’s extensive supply chain and subcontractors will be used to deliver this project. EFINOR Limited will be a key player in delivering the project with office strategically positioned in Bristol, close to the Hinkley Point C site and NNB offices.
Thanks to an extensive experience and knowledge of mechanical and seismic studies, project management and manufacturing for the Nuclear Industry, the consortium between EFINOR and CLEMESSY has already designed, manufactured and installed the Main Control Room on the Flamanville 3 EPR. EFINOR was a key supplier on Taishan EPRs Main Control Room. These major nuclear projects won by EFINOR and CLEMESSY bilingual and multicultural work teams have strengthened their skills and knowledge which are key-values on the HPC project.


View of the Flamanville 3 EPR Main Control Room © EDF – Media Library, Alexis Morin and the communication staff of the Flamanville 3 EPR
The day of the signature of the MCR contract
NNB, EFINOR and CLEMESSY representatives
EFINOR - www.efinor.fr
About EFINOR EFINOR group is a combination of 3 business units: Engineering – Manufacturing – and Support, all involved in metal working from design to manufacturing and installation. This organization enables the group to provide global end to end services. Our know-how is relying on the consistency of our teams inside EFINOR and also on the proximity of our workshops and design offices all over France and in the UK. 30% of EFINOR turnover comes from the nuclear industry. EFINOR is a key subcontractor of EDF Energy, NNB, AREVA, BYLOR (JV between Bouygues and Lang O’Rourke) and other major nuclear contractors, EFINOR has manufactured the liners for the ITER site (new build project of the world's largest tokamak, a magnetic fusion device that has been designed to prove the feasibility of fusion at a large-scale and carbon-free source of energy based on the same principle that powers our Sun and stars*) and has collaborated with EDF for the creation of the multiple-elements mechanical plug OBTOPLUS® (EDF patent, EDF trade mark). It is aimed to seal pipelines or to bypass fluid in order to perform pressure tests without any structure alteration. OBTOPLUS® resists against high pressure through 40 bars (580 Psi).
▪ With 600+ collaborators, the EFINOR Group’s turnover, in 2016, was 52 million euros. www.efinor.com
Fabrice LEPOTIER, founder and president of the EFINOR Group « I appreciate that good relationship between France and the UK goes really well, thanks to the confidence brought by our customer, NNB, on our capacity to perform such a major project, regarding our previous expertise on the French and Chinese EPR projects. I also wanted to thank all my teams for the quality of their work and the efforts they gave during these 4 years of business relationships ».
Within the Energy division of the Eiffage Group, CLEMESSY designs, improves, installs and maintains systems and equipment in the fields of electrical and mechanical engineering, in numerous sectors of activity: industry, energy, tertiary and transport infrastructure.
Its wealth of experience, combined with a constant search for innovation, has allowed it to develop expertise geared to many industrial processes.
CLEMESSY boasts over 40 years’ experience in the nuclear field and is involved in the entire fuel cycle. Its commitment to continuous positions today makes the company a reference partner offering know-how and expertise which meet the requirements and challenges of the nuclear industry.
▪ With a workforce of 5,000 employees, Clemessy achieved a turnover of 665 million euros in 2016.
« It has been a pleasure working with EFINOR/CLEMESSY on the tender phase. NNB appreciates the support the consortium is providing in addressing the erection challenges of this project while capitalizing the OPEX from FA3 and Taishan EPRs. The Consortium is a good example of the collaboration NNB is seeking to establish with the HPC suppliers. »

New Year message from Nuclear South West Chair, Matt Burley

I'd like to take this opportunity to reflect back on 2017 and share what we have in store this year.

2017 has been another significant year in the UK nuclear industry: driven by global political and economic levers, we have seen a significant amount of disruption in both the investor community and within the supply chain.  And this disruption has affected us as an interested community of suppliers, albeit indirectly in some cases.  We welcome SNC Lavalin to UK shores after their successful acquisition of WS Atkins Ltd;  Wood Group is forging ahead in the industry after acquiring AMEC FW (and have just won a major contract in HPC); NuGen has announced that KEPCO has won preferred bidder status for the Moorside project after the withdrawal of Toshiba Westinghouse; and the NDA are in the process of change, responding to the Holliday enquiry.  Despite the distractions of BREXIT and the negotiation around the shape and form of our withdrawal from the EU, the UK Government is trying to re-invigorate the domestic SMR competition and has released the Industrial Strategy White Paper that calls out Nuclear as a strategically important sector and one that is in the process of negotiating a 'deal'.  And a little closer to home, Vincent de Rivaz recently stepped down as EDF Energy's successful CEO, in November, to be relieved by Simone Rossi.  This internal appointment created a re-shuffle that has brought Stuart Crooks (formerly of EDF Generation) to the MD role in HPC as the project progresses into construction with the Chinese partners; and in Barnwood, Brian Cowell has stepped up, internally to relieve Stuart as the MD.  I could go on but in summary we are seeing lots and lots of change.  And for a developing supply chain, change brings opportunity.  In short, we face some really positive signals in 2018.  So here's to the year ahead!

And behind all of this, NSW has been making a huge impact; we continue to resonate within the industry and our twin aims - representing and promoting the region and opening the door to the wider nuclear industry - are certainly being met.

Here are some of the activities and achievements from 2017:

  • We hosted our biggest annual conference (co hosted with SW Nuclear Hub), in September with:
    • 135 delegates
    • Over 50 business-to-business matchmaking meetings, including multi-national
    • Varied speakers covering new build, decommissioning and defence
    • A Women in Nuclear (WIN) speed mentoring event
  • Summer networking in July
  • French-British nuclear cluster event with Department for International Trade in October
  • Exhibited at the NDA Supply Chain event in November
  • We significantly contributed to the proposed Nuclear Sector Deal
  • We have renewed a relationship with MOD, to plan events in 2018
  • We have built a closer working relationship with SW Nuclear Hub - and are exploring opportunities for export
  • We have launched a new pilot scheme - working with decommissioning partners to identify opportunities for SW based supply chain with innovative solutions to problems
  • We have a new member section on web site – (please pass your details to Jessica so we can upload them)
  • We can now now include Member case studies in newsletters and online

What a portfolio of achievements!  And a look forward to 2018 plans include:

  • n innovation in supply chain event
  • One or more defence events
  • North-South collaboration events with Britain’s Energy Coast Business Cluster
  • DIT Civil Nuclear Showcase
  • Spring networking
  • World Nuclear Exhibition delegation, June
  • Summer networking
  • Annual conference, 19th September

And one final point I would like to share is that we are trying to make NSW even more impactful.  One of the board members and I will be visiting the NIA to discuss how we can operate more effectively in the sector and how we could integrate with wider industry initiatives - the intention is to deliver more value for you all.  I will, of course, keep you informed as those discussio progres and what they mean for our future.

Thank you for your continued support for Nuclear South West, and we look forward to working with you in 2018.