Cammell Laird shipyard Birkenhead

Italians join Cammell Laird’s nuclear team

Ansaldo Nucleare, part of Italian aerospace and defence group, Finmeccanica, has signed a partnership agreement with Warrington-based Nuvia and Birkenhead shipyard Cammell Laird to design and build heavy modules and components for the UK's civil nuclear programme.

The deal builds on the agreement between Nuvia, part of the Vinci Group, and Cammell Laird signed in August 2010 to enter the nuclear module market.

Ansaldo has 30 years' experience in the nuclear power sector designing, engineering, building and managing nuclear facilities. Ansaldo is the designer of the major modules for the Westinghouse AP1000 plant and the containment vessel at Sanmen nuclear power plant in China. Ansaldo Nucleare is fully owned by Finmeccanica subsidiary Ansaldo Energia.

The partners propose to build super modules for AP1000 and EPR nuclear power plants, initially for the UK market, using an off-site 'weather protected' construction hall and sea access load-out facilities at Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead capable of handling modules up to 5000 tonnes.

John Syvret, chief executive of Cammell Laird, said: "Ansaldo Nucleare has added an important new dimension to the partnership Nuvia and Cammell Laird formed last year, as they have patented module designs together with operational capability and significant design capacity. Ansaldo is also currently involved in the construction and management of the latest AP1000 Nuclear Power Plant being built in China. These skills when added to the capabilities and infrastructure of Nuvia and Cammell Laird, create a unique formula for the design, offsite construction and installation support of 'super modules' for future nuclear power plants to be built in the UK and ultimately around the world."

Keith Collett, chief executive of Nuvia UK, said: "The addition of Ansaldo Nucleare to the already impressive partnership of Nuvia and Cammell Laird creates a significant proposition to the nuclear new build market, increasing the spectrum of capability, knowledge and experience from one collaborative source. This association provides a real opportunity for Nuvia, Ansaldo Nucleare and Cammell Laird to drive innovation and enhance the technical engineering skills offered to the UK and International market."

Roberto Adinolfi, chief executive of Ansaldo Nucleare, said: "The agreement with Cammell Laird and Nuvia will inject Ansaldo's experience in support of the UK nuclear program in a very effective way, creating a win-win opportunity for the partners in playing a leading role in the European nuclear market."

Cammell Laird, whose shareholders include Peel Ports and marine engineering business A&P Group, is the largest ship repair and conversion specialist in the UK.

Syvret said he expects the nuclear new build programme to begin construction in around 18 months time. Under proposals announced by the UK Government in November 2009, 10 potential sites have been identified for new nuclear power stations. If built, these will generate up to 25% of the country's electricity energy needs, compared to the 13% generated by nuclear means today. Subsequent to the UK Government's announcement private electricity generators EDF Energy, Horizon Nuclear Power and NuGen have made commitments to build at Hinkley in Somerset, Sizewell in Suffolk, Wylfain Anglesey and Oldbury in Gloucestershire. In January 2009, 10 sites were given preliminary approval including Hinkley Point, Oldbury, Sellafield, Sizewell, Wylfa, Bradwell, Braystones, Hartlepool, Heysham and Kirksanton. In October 2010, Braystones and Kirsanton were removed but three further sites at Druridge Bay, Kingsnorth and Owston Ferry were designated worthy of future investigation.

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