Birkenhead-based shipyard and engineering services company, Cammell Laird, is investing £1.5m in facilities and appointing a leading nuclear sector engineer.
John Eldridge has joined Cammell Laird from Sellafield, which operates the nuclear reprocessing plant in West Cumbria. He has a track record of more than 40 years working on the design, construction, commissioning and operation of nuclear facilities.
John Syvret, chief executive of Cammell Laird, said the company is now making serious progress in its campaign to position itself as one of the prime locations in Britain for the manufacture of modules for the multi-billion pound new build and decommissioning programmes. The current spend on the UK's £70bn decommissioning programme is around £3bn a year and the new nuclear power plant programme is estimated to be worth £100bn.
Syvret said: "John brings a wealth of experience and expertise to our team. His knowledge will help us forge closer links with the nuclear industry enabling us to present innovative solutions to complex engineering challenges.
"In terms of our investment we have spent more than £1.5m in renovating one of the large workshops near the construction hall. The refurbishment has seen six cranes overhauled and a new roof, floor, electrics and lighting installed. It will provide a world-class facility to test and assemble modules and rigs for our nuclear clients."
Eldridge said: "This is a hugely exciting time to be at Cammell Laird and I am absolutely delighted to join John Syvret and the team here.
"Power plant vendors want to broaden their supply chain and they want suppliers like Cammell Laird to find efficient, adaptable and flexible solutions. This combination of nuclear decommissioning and new build programmes is a watershed moment for the industry. It is taking a step back and thinking 'how can we improve what we do?' There is an understanding that things cannot just be done in the same way.
"Technology has changed, and is changing, faster than ever before. For example, major process systems will be manufactured and commissioned under factory conditions before transfer to site and the typical stick built approach to concrete structures will be transformed by the incorporation of huge steel modules. The steel modules we will make at Cammell Laird need to embrace innovation and have that adaptability.
"In decommissioning there are many unknowns given the nature and age of the materials, some of which go back 50 years to the beginning of the industry. So the modular systems we provide have to be sophisticated and have to be flexible."