Region’s firms urged to join the nuclear revolution

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YORKSHIRE manufacturers are better placed than their European rivals to cash in on the growth of nuclear energy, according to a senior figure at EDF Energy.

Alan Cumming predicted that the Nuclear AMRC at the Advanced Manufacturing Park, near Rotherham, will become Britain’s most important hub for the nuclear sector.

The Nuclear AMRC brings together the manufacturing and engineering expertise of the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, and the University of Manchester’s Dalton Nuclear Institute. It also uses the knowledge and technical skills of industry leaders.

Mr Cumming, who is the commercial director for EDF Energy’s nuclear new build programme in the UK, said yesterday: “It’s a world class facility and it is sitting next door to some of the world’s most talented manufacturers, so we will be hosting special events where those manufacturers can get a clear understanding of what we need. It’s time for Yorkshire’s manufacturers to grab this opportunity with both hands.”

A series of supplier days, where local manufacturers can discuss their products with buyers from the nuclear energy sector, are being planned for the Nuclear AMRC.

Martin McKervey, a partner at law firm Nabarro, which is a headline sponsor of Sheffield’s Global Manufacturing Festival 2012, said: “It is hoped that Yorkshire engineering companies specialising in instrumentation, valves, pumps and other high-end products can grab pole position in this sector as the UK is about to see its largest-ever new-build programme for nuclear energy.

“The NAMRC is right on our doorstep and will be the main focus for supply chains, not just for EDF but for the entire industry, as well as home to a special apprentice training centre and knowledge transfer facility.

“Given the quality of our region’s products and the proximity of the NAMRC, our local manufacturers are best-placed to take advantage of the demand for high quality supply chain products at all levels.

“The time is absolutely ripe for those manufacturers to take advantage of this and stake their claim to be key suppliers to the industry.”

EDF will reveal more details about its supplier days later this year.

The Nuclear AMRC took possession of its facility on the Advanced Manufacturing Park in October 2011, and an official launch is planned for this summer.

In March last year, French nuclear group Areva signed a collaborative agreement with the Nuclear AMRC to identify and support UK manufacturing companies which can supply Areva’s projects in the UK and overseas.

The Nuclear AMRC will act as an entry point for companies which do not have an existing relationship with Areva.