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Atkins signed up to breathe life into Welsh tidal power project

Atkins has won a key role on a landmark project to create tidal power off the coast of Swansea, South Wales.

Power firm Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay formally appointed the consultant for its proposed 320MW Swansea Bay project.

The Planning Inspectorate is considering Tidal Lagoon Power’s application for a 9.5km long sea wall, which will enclose 11km2 of water, and renewable energy plant in South Wales.

Atkins will provide design and engineering support, including producing outline designs for the breakwater, turbine house and ancillary works, along with site supervision, auditing and technical checking services.

Work on the project could begin on site next spring, with power projected to be connected to the National Grid by 2018.

Mike McNicholas, managing director of Atkins’ UK design and engineering business, said: “This is a major civil engineering project which combines a wide range of disciplines from building services, power and architecture to structural and marine engineering. It is a world first and something which will make a positive difference to people in the UK and possibly wider afield.

“As designers and engineers, these are the things that make us get out of bed in the morning and it’s great to be part of the team.”

Tidal Lagoon Power said earlier this year that it wants Welsh construction companies to play a major role in the construction project.

Costain is coordinating and managing delivery of the £750M project. Work involves developing and managing the schedule for the preconstruction and construction phases and developing construction methodology for civil engineering works.

These include turbine and sluice structures, access routes and complex temporary works including a temporary bund to enable the construction of turbine housing.

The lagoon wall will comprise a sand-core breakwater or rock bund. There are two design options covered by the Development Consent Order, currently under consideration at the Planning Inspectorate. The first option uses woven plastic geotextiles to encase locally-dredged sandy material. The second is a quarry run, rubble mound, traditional breakwater associated with typical. Larger rock armour would be positioned on top of either option to protect against degradation.

The developer is currently tendering for both options and anticipates selecting a preferred marine works contractor in late October 2014.

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