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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Cumbrian firms urged to make bids to nuclear supply chain fund

Businesses based in Cumbria are being urged to bid for a share of a £15 million fund set up to develop Britain’s nuclear supply chain.

The fund has been set up by Government organisations, including the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).

Called Developing the Civil Nuclear Power Supply Chain, it will help finance feasibility projects designed to stimulate innovation in Britain’s civil nuclear power sector.

The aim is to develop a network of UK companies that can seize the huge opportunities offered by the expanding UK and global nuclear industries over the coming decades.

The NDA will invest money along with contributions from the Technology Strategy Board, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

The worldwide market for new civil nuclear power plants could be worth as much as £600bn over the next 20 years and the decommissioning, waste treatment and disposal industries could be worth £250bn.

British firms are already capable of providing an estimated 70 per cent of the components needed to build a civil nuclear power plant, a study by the Nuclear Industries Association found.

But for the UK to fully realise that potential, companies must work more closely together to transfer skills and technologies between different industries, the research found. This fund is designed to help foster that collaborative spirit.

Melanie Brownridge, the NDA’s head of research and development, said: “The NDA is committed to encouraging innovation as it progresses the safe decommissioning of the UK’s first generation of nuclear facilities.

“We see investment in research and development as a key element in this long-term mission. We are particularly keen for Cumbrian businesses, especially small or medium-sized enterprises, to take part.”

“We held a brokering event at Rheged, Penrith, in May for potential collaborators on decommissioning projects where we saw a fantastic turnout from companies already engaged in the industry and those from other sectors such as oil and gas keen to apply their technologies to the nuclear market.“

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