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British Nuclear Industry open for international partnerships
In Bulgaria, a lesser-known opportunity for partnership is the supply of enriched uranium as a separate service within the nuclear fuel supply
AUTHOR: Atanas Georgiev

At the beginning of July, UK Trade & Investment organised a nuclear roadshow in the area of Manchester. Representatives of the nuclear industry and media from Central and Eastern Europe took part in this event. The roadshow included visits to some key sites of the British nuclear energy sector: Urenco Enrichment Company in Capenhurst, Westinghouse Electric Company Fuel manufacturing facility in Springfields, Heysham 2 NPP, the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC), etc. There were also presentations by the British Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), Amec and Dalton Nuclear Institute.

One of the main messages of the British companies and institutions was their readiness to partner with other countries across the full supply chain: from the delivery of equipment for new nuclear build, through uranium enrichment, to operation of nuclear facilities and decommissioning.

In Bulgaria, a lesser-known opportunity for partnerships is the delivery of enriched uranium as a separate service within the nuclear supply chain. Tony McCormick and Debbie Breasley from Urenco presented the business model of the company that is owned by the United Kingdom (33.3%), the Netherlands (33.3%) and Germany (33.3% through the German utilities E.ON and RWE). At present, Urenco’s market share of the global market for enriched uranium is 31% and it is produced in the company’s facilities in the UK, the Netherlands, Germany and the USA. Tony McCormick presented Urenco’s vision: to provide security of supply of enriched uranium through full or partial diversification of the existing suppliers.

Some of the advantages include uranium fuel costs: usually they comprise 10% of the cost of generating electricity form a nuclear power plant and fuel enrichment accounts for a third of this cost. Due to the huge fixed cots, usually the supply contracts are signed for a period of 10 or more years. At present, Urenco’s order book is at EUR 18 bln and its longest contracts are until 2028.

The management of Westinghouse presented its future participation in the supply chain thought its flagship AP1000. The complex in Springfields will deliver the nuclear fuel for all new AP1000 reactors in Europe. The first three reactors will be built in Sellafield during the period 2020-2024.

The nuclear roadshow finished by a visit to the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC). It helps manufacturing companies test large-scale equipment or real-life mock-ups, which makes it a unique research centre not only in Europe, but in the world. Research is carried out in collaboration between the business and representatives of academia. Some of the NAMRC’s activities are aimed at helping UK companies win business both in the UK, and overseas.

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