Rolls-Royce has made a fresh play to secure a central role in Britain’s nuclear revival, pitching its equipment for use in the proposed Chinese plant in Essex. The engineering giant has approached China General Nuclear (CGN) to propose using its control systems at the Bradwell plant instead of the Chinese company’s own kit. Rolls-Royce’s approach marks a change of tack in its UK nuclear strategy after its efforts to develop smaller reactors, dubbed “mini nukes”, foundered. The project is one of three new nuclear schemes in this country in which CGN is centrally involved. Rolls-Royce already has an agreement with CGN’s subsidiary, CTEC, to develop and sell reactor control systems for selected projects in China and on international markets.
Britain’s nuclear programme is in disarray following Hitachi’s decision last week to shelve plans for a £20bn power station at Wylfa in Anglesey after financing plans for the scheme unravelled. That came two months after Toshiba pulled out of another project in Cumbria. CGN manufactures its own control systems which it could still use at the plant, but using Rolls-Royce as a supplier could help quell worries about Chinese companies building crucial national infrastructure in Britain. The Chinese group has its own control systems in addition to its reactor technology. However, using a UK-based company’s equipment will enable CGN to ease security concerns in the UK. The UK’s nuclear programme is currently experiencing difficulties after last week’s decision by Hitachi to halt plans for a £20bn power station at Wylfa in Anglesey.
Rolls-Royce said: “CGN is a leading nuclear group and a valued customer of Rolls-Royce. We have a long-lasting partnership with the group that dates back to the launch of its first nuclear plant in China more than 30 years ago. “We value every business opportunity with our customers around the world, and address each with the goal of providing reliable product and service solutions, helping to ensure reliable and efficient operation of their power plants wherever they are.” CGN is now playing a central role in all three remaining projects. It is providing one third of the funding for the new Hinkley Point C, which is currently being built by the French firm EDF. Rolls is a longstanding supplier of controls systems to the nuclear industry, having acquired the Merlin Gerin business of France’s Schneider Electric in 2003. Its systems are installed in more than 200 reactors worldwide. The UK group signed an agreement with CGN in June looking at ways they could collaborate on nuclear control systems technology.
Tim Jones is a contributing writer for this publication covering the business of technology, software development, and healthcare. He looks after most of the content which is been produced and manages to put it in well-mannered form. He also has knowledge of various health topics, and proficiency in word processing software and interactive technologies. He studied biology at the University of Texas and received a graduate degree in science, health, and environmental reporting from NYU. [firstname.lastname@example.org]