Real impact from Fit For Nuclear

More than half of manufacturers taking part in the Nuclear AMRC’s Fit For Nuclear programme are confident of winning new nuclear work this year, a new survey has found.

The latest survey of companies which are currently progressing through Fit For Nuclear (F4N), or are already granted, shows that most are confident of winning new business and have seen real benefits from the programme. In all, 89 per cent of participating companies would recommend F4N to other manufacturers.

F4N is a unique service which lets manufacturers measure their operations against the standards required to supply the nuclear industry – in new build, operations and decommissioning – and helps them take the necessary steps to close any gaps. F4N is delivered exclusively by the Nuclear AMRC, and supported by top-tier partners in nuclear new build and decommissioning.

More than 680 UK manufacturers have now taken the initial F4N online assessment, with most receiving ongoing support from the Nuclear AMRC’s industrial advisors and nuclear specialists. Completing the programme requires commitment and drive from senior managers, and typically takes 12–18 months.

Almost all of the 116 companies who responded to the survey are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with more than half still working towards being granted F4N.

Around a third of respondents said it was too soon to report demonstrable benefits. Of the others, more than 60 per cent reported improvements in HSEQ measures, and more than half reported increased confidence and greater awareness of the nuclear market.

Despite divided views on the general economic climate for manufacturing, more than 90 per cent expect their turnover to grow in the next year, with 57 per cent confident of winning new work in nuclear.

Many have already secured new nuclear orders, and others say that the F4N process has helped them win work in other sectors. However, new entrants to the nuclear supply chain say they face significant obstacles to winning work – 64 per cent of respondents said that connecting with potential buyers was one of the biggest challenges, and 54 per cent said they lacked awareness of opportunities.

The survey results will be used in the continuing development of the F4N service to provide additional value to manufacturers. The programme was expanded in late 2017, with additional post-granting support to help companies maintain their journey of business excellence. The new F4N Connect online searchable directory of granted companies was launched in December, with five companies saying they have already received enquiries from it.

“While we are pleased with the progress that has been made, we recognise the ongoing challenges that our F4N community face, and we welcome all constructive feedback,” says Ian Williams, the Nuclear AMRC’s recently appointed head of supply chain development.

“F4N companies continue to report a lack of real commercial opportunities to break into the nuclear sector, or to develop relationships within the nuclear supply chain. We are working hard to address these concerns, and are developing new capabilities in nuclear sector demand modelling to map out commercial opportunities and how UK companies can align their planning and strategies to best position their offering.”


What manufacturers say about F4N

“F4N has made us take a good look at ourselves. It has helped us improve our business, health, safety and environment. It has also helped us to build a continuous sustainable improvement plan that is realistic.” – Tanya Brennan, Polycast.

“We are such a better business as a result of the investment.” – John French, IT4Automation.

“Overall this has been a fantastic scheme which has certainly helped to develop and improve the business. I am hopeful that more recent developments, such as the F4N Connect portal, will improve our chances of winning work in the nuclear sector.” – Roger Kimber, Strata Technology.

“All aspects are very useful and are helping to improve our business.” – Peter Bruch, AE Aerospace.

“The F4N programme has improved our company in many areas. This has provided benefits with the potential increase in business within the nuclear sector, and given confidence to clients in other areas.” – Paul Bunn, S+H Systems.

“We would recommend F4N to manufacturers wanting to go beyond the standard. The company reorganisation has improved the efficiency of the company for all customers, and was well worth completing even if nuclear work is not the end aim.” – Brian Kermode, WKW Precision Engineering.

World Nuclear Exhibition

26–28 June 2018, Paris.

A major event for key players in the global nuclear energy sector, with 10,000 visitors and 4,000 businesses expected over three days. The WNE covers all aspects of the nuclear industry from new build and construction, through operations and maintenance to decommissioning.

With the full support of the French nuclear industry and including all the major international reactor vendors, the WNE represents a key event for companies looking to win work in the UK or international nuclear market. It is also a great opportunity to connect with companies in the French nuclear industry, including key players in the EDF/Framatome supply chain.

The Nuclear AMRC is exhibiting as part of the UK pavilion (stand C23) organised by the Energy Industries Council (EIC) and Department for International Trade (DIT). We are sharing space with five Fit For Nuclear manufacturers – Abbey Forged Products, Delta Controls, Fan Systems, NIS and TPG Engineering – plus our founding member Sheffield Forgemasters. Together, we present a cross-section of the UK’s world-class manufacturing capabilities for the nuclear sector.

For full details:



Horizon moves forward on Wylfa Newydd

Horizon Nuclear Power is moving ahead with its proposed new build at Wylfa, Anglesey, with the launch of the next phase of discussions with government and the submission of detailed plans for the new power plant.

Horizon is owned by Hitachi Ltd of Japan, and proposes to build two Hitachi-GE 1300MWe advanced boiling water reactor (ABWR) reactors at the Wylfa Newydd site.

Business and energy secretary Greg Clark MP has confirmed that Wylfa Newydd is the next project in the UK’s new build programme, following EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point C, and that the UK government is entering into detailed negotiations over financing and the cost to consumers of electricity from the new plant.

“The UK is likely to need significant new nuclear capacity in order to meet our carbon reduction commitments at least cost, particularly as we electrify more of our transport and heating,” Clark said in a statement to Parliament. “So alongside entering negotiations in relation to Wylfa Newydd, the government will also continue to engage with the other developers in the UK new nuclear market on their proposals for further projects.”

Duncan Hawthorne, chief executive officer at Horizon, welcomed Clark’s statement as a clear signal of the government’s commitment to delivering a low carbon future for the UK.

“Building on last year’s regulatory acceptance of our tried and tested reactor technology, it shows real momentum behind the project which will bring huge benefits everywhere from Anglesey to Wales and the UK and Japan,” he said. “Our focus now is to ensure we continue to deliver on our key project milestones as we move towards construction.”

The ABWR completed the government’s generic design assessment (GDA) process in December 2017.

Horizon has now submitted its development consent order (DCO) application to the government’s Planning Inspectorate. This comprises some 41,000 pages, 440 documents and over 400 drawings specifying the ABWR power station and associated work at the Wylfa Newydd site, and how Horizon plans to build it. The DCO process will include a public consultation, and is expected to take around 18 months from submission to decision.

Horizon has also applied for other key consents including a marine licence and permissions for combustion and water discharge during construction and operations.

Hitachi estimates that around 60 per cent by value of the first ABWR at Wylfa Newydd will be sourced in the UK, with more local input into later plant.