Amec to lead new UK nuclear power research initiative

Under a £2.9m contract from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Amec Foster Wheeler will set up and run a UK Digital Reactor Design partnership that will use virtual engineering and high-performance computing to enhance the techniques used to design reactors and optimise their performance

The project is part of a broader effort to put UK industry at the forefront of developing Generation IV and small modular reactors, which could play a key role in meeting the UK’s future energy needs. The aim is to achieve a step change in the way that nuclear design, development and construction programmes are delivered.

Amec Foster Wheeler is supported by partners and sub-contractors from industry, academia and science, including the University of Liverpool’s Virtual Engineering Centre, the Hartree Centre, National Nuclear Laboratory, Rolls-Royce, EDF Energy, the University of Cambridge and Imperial College London.

This contract award advances Amec Foster Wheeler’s strategy to grow its portfolio of research work and follows on from the recent contract award by Innovate UK, the government’s innovation agency, to carry out research into manufacturing and materials technologies for the civil nuclear sector. The company will be working closely with the University of Manchester and Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre on themes relating to nuclear structural materials and design codes and standards.

Clive White, president of Amec Foster Wheeler’s Clean Energy business, said: "We are delighted to be working with BEIS and our partners to establish a virtual network that will enhance the techniques used in reactor design, in assessing how reactors will perform during their operating life and how this can be optimised.

"We will be bringing together expertise from industry and academia combining the latest digital techniques, such as virtual engineering, with advanced multi-physics modelling and simulation expertise. The objective is to enhance reactor design capability and assist UK industry to play a crucial role in our future energy security."

Richard Harrington MP, energy minister at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, added: "I’m very pleased to have awarded virtual engineering, structural materials and nuclear design codes and standards contracts to Amec Foster Wheeler. Partnering with leading UK organisations in the nuclear industry will have a big part to play in helping deliver on our department’s big initiatives, including the Clean Growth Plan and the Industrial Strategy."

Published: 31 July 2017

Article by Bryce Wilcock
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