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End bespoke nuclear design, says Sizewell boss

Sizewell B reactor dome 3to2

Sizewell C managing director Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson has called on the nuclear industry to start repeating designs from other projects to drive down costs.  

Cadoux-Hudson claims that repeating designs and using existing labour and supply chains will put an end to the culture of “stop start design” on nuclear projects in the UK. 

His comments follow the scrapping of three UK nuclear power projects in little over two months, including Hitachi’s decision to suspended work on the £20bn Wyfla plant on Anglesey. 

In a blog post on the EDF website, Cadoux-Hudson said: “In nuclear, there are significant costs in approving and designing a power station and each if its components to meet the UK’s exacting and specific regulatory demands. For an identical second of a kind project, most of these costs are avoided if the design is unchanged,” he said.  

“Too often, the history of UK nuclear has been one of stop start and multiple design changes – now we have an opportunity for a different approach”. 

Hinkley can provide approved designs, a highly skilled labour force, and an already developed supply chain to the project at Sizewell, pushing costs down, said Cadoux-Hudson.  

“Evidence from the Energy Technologies Institute shows that the best way to bring nuclear costs down is to repeat and copy an existing design, with a workforce, suppliers and skills that are already in place,” he said. 

“The next two reactors may be at Sizewell C, but they will be so identical, that they could be called the third and fourth Hinkley Point C reactors.”  

This is not the first time that re-using the Hinkley Point C designs and supply chain has been suggested for other plants. EDF non-executive chairman Colin Matthews previously said 20% of project costs could be saved by bringing across the Hinkley supply chain.  

“What if we were to take all of the engineering works and technologies and transfer the experience from Hinkley Point into the new construction [of Sizewell C],” Matthews said. “We [EDF] think if we do all of this, we can cut costs of construction by a significant 20%.”  

In January, EDF Energy claimed it could deliver Sizewell C for around £5bn less than Hinkley Point C by “copying and pasting” designs to slash pre-construction costs.  

Sizewell C would be located north of its sister plant Sizewell B on the Suffolk coast. EDF estimates the 3.2GW power plant will take 10 to 12 years to build. It recently began the final round of public consultation for the project.  

*Image displayed is of Sizewll B.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • It's ironic that 30 years ago I worked on the tender for Hinkley C (scrapped before tender submission) which was based on drawings for Sizewell B (which was then under construction)!

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