The Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) today opened its new modular manufacturing R&D Centre, at the Birkenhead site of member company Cammell Laird.
The launch marks the start of a research collaboration led by Cammell Laird to develop modular manufacturing techniques to support the UK’s nuclear new build programme.
HVM Catapult CEO, Dick Elsy, spoke at the opening of the new facility, giving an update on the impact of advanced manufacturing research and innovation in UK economy.
The Nuclear AMRC, part of the UK’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult, works with UK manufacturers of all sizes to help them win work in the nuclear power sector. Its research factory on the Advanced Manufacturing Park in South Yorkshire is home to over £30 million worth of state-of-the-art machining, welding and inspection facilities, all of which are available for companies to use in collaborative R&D projects.
The new facility expands the Nuclear AMRC’s capabilities into modular manufacturing. Modular manufacturing involves the off-site assembly of large-scale complex systems, which are then transported to site for final installation.
Modular techniques are already widely used in shipbuilding, aerospace and other safety-critical industries. In the nuclear sector, they can significantly reduce construction risk and help deliver new power stations to schedule and cost.
The Nuclear AMRC Birkenhead facility officially opens on Tuesday 4 July, with a launch event attended by around 50 industry delegates. The event features presentations from leading industry and academic figures, plus technology demonstrators.
With over 1,000m2 of workshop space, the new facility will host specialised machining, joining and assembly equipment to develop and prove modular manufacturing techniques for nuclear applications. Work will address modular manufacturing for new reactors of all sizes, as well as the challenges of decommissioning and waste management.
Our new Birkenhead facility extends our capabilities into an area of huge interest and importance to the nuclear industry. Modularisation reduces risk in manufacturing and construction, and will help developers build new power stations on schedule and on budget, meeting our national targets for secure, cost-effective, low-carbon electricity generation.
“The manufacturing techniques we will develop at the new facility can also help improve production efficiency and costs in other parts of the nuclear market, for example in the manufacture of large numbers of standardised waste boxes for the decommissioning programme.
“Our Birkenhead facility is the first of a new network of regional supply chain hubs, which will help us provide on-the-ground support to companies of all sizes across the UK. Birkenhead is ideally placed for the established nuclear cluster in North West England as well as the Wylfa new build site in North Wales. We want to help companies based in this region to become Fit For Nuclear and win work in the nuclear sector at home and worldwide.”
Andy Storer, Managing Director, Nuclear AMRC