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Nuclear lessons initiative

New initiative to collate key lessons from previous power stations

Engineers and the government have joined forces to ensure that lessons from previous nuclear power construction projects are used in the new nuclear power programme.

They will be investigating ways of ensuring projects are delivered on time and to budget and a report containing key recommendations will be published in the Autumn.

The project, led by Engineering the Future and the Office for Nuclear Development, aims to ensure the nuclear industry and supply chain are equipped with clear and accessible information about the new build programme, derived from the experience of past projects.

Workshop

The initial discussion workshop, hosted by ICE last week, was attended by representatives from within the sector, academia, government departments and engineering bodies. It is hoped that the project will make it easier for engineers to find and spread information during the new build programme.

ICE director general Tom Foulkes said he was encouraged by the government’s support for the new nuclear programme. “It was evident from the discussion last week that there is real commitment to ensuring the nuclear programme forges ahead in the most effective way to help achieve a decarbonised economy.  

“By facilitating an open and transparent dialogue some of the uncertainty has been eliminated and industry can make long-term investment decisions with renewed confidence.”

Although the recent announcement of the re-assessment of the government’s energy national policy statement has led to fears that this could slow the programme, Foulkes said that ministers at the meeting had stressed that it would not significantly impact on the end delivery.

“This is just a one-off event; it’s not a systemic slip in the programme because things haven’t been estimated correctly. We were given assurances that everything is still on track for meeting the initial power generation capacity target by 2018.”

But he urged the government to keep providing reassurance and clarity around any future developments. “The nuclear new build programme is critical for the UK, guaranteeing our security of energy supply in the future and proving an opportunity for us to become a role model for energy investment globally. The Government must keep the lines of communication open to ensure the sector can make rational, well-informed long-term decisions.”

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