YORKSHIRE manufacturers can gain extra funding to increase their chances of winning contracts in the nuclear sector.
Fit For Nuclear (F4N), which was developed by the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC), and delivered in partnership with the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS), is offering grants of around £10,000 to Yorkshire entrepreneurs who want to compete for work in the civil nuclear sector.
According to the MAS, more than 5,000 SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) are needed to ensure the UK has the capacity to meet its £60bn civil new build programme, along with the multi-billion decommissioning contracts already underway. Altogether, £1.5m of funding to support F4N is being provided by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund
Stuart Harrison, the business development director at the Nuclear AMRC, which is based in Rotherham, believes Yorkshire companies can play a significant role.
He told The Yorkshire Post: “We are seeking 500 additional companies to engage in the F4N process within England. Based on the past two years, approximately 13 per cent of the existing companies have come from Yorkshire, so it would not be unreasonable to expect in the area of 55 to 65 companies to come from Yorkshire.”
There are plans to build around 16 new nuclear power stations in the UK by 2030, which equates to a potential investment of £60bn.
Mike Tynan, the chief executive of the Nuclear AMRC, added: “Smaller manufacturers have a vital role to play in civil nuclear, if they can meet the standards demanded by the industry’s top tier. To win work, Yorkshire companies need to make sure they have the ability to meet safety, quality and cost standards, and can demonstrate that their specialist capabilities can deliver value to clients. We created F4N to help manufacturers close any gaps in performance, and this new funding will provide vital support for anyone taking the next steps and getting ready to compete for nuclear opportunities.”
Manufacturers can apply for F4N funding to support research and development projects that improve their production techniques or develop new processes. They can also use the Nuclear AMRC’s workshop for welding, metrology and design support. All projects must be completed by March 31 2016, with firms urged to apply as soon as possible to secure a share of the funding.
Steven Barr, the head of MAS, said: “Almost 200 businesses have already embarked on F4N and more than 75 per cent of these have recorded immediate benefits.
He added: “Nuclear is seen as a difficult sector to break into.
Yes, the requirements are different, but it’s not as problematic as some people make out. We’ve successfully worked with manufacturers involved in aerospace, automotive, electronics, marine and general fabrication; taking their core expertise and making them applicable to nuclear.”
For further information visit www.fitfornuclear.co.uk