IChemE nuclear experts back new build study

28th October 2010

Bill Harper, chair of IChemE’s Nuclear Technology Subject Group has welcomed a new report published today, bringing together lessons learnt from past and current nuclear projects to help ensure the success of future UK nuclear new build.

The Nuclear Lessons Learnt study was conducted by Engineering the Future (Etf), an alliance of professional engineering organisations with a combined membership of over 450,000.

Harper said: “This report is a formidable initial step, which furthermore strengthens the UK’s position in becoming recognised as a world leader in the effective mobilisation of national and international expertise to deliver world-class nuclear new build.

“As a global organisation, IChemE is acutely aware of the huge upsurge in international interest in nuclear new build, and the consequent pressure on the need to develop approaches which will deliver nuclear generating time, cost and quality.”

The study aims to demonstrate that despite the long intervals between domestic new build programmes, lessons have been learnt that will significantly reduce risks and delays in UK new nuclear build programmes. Six of the most relevant projects in recent history were examined, and the outcomes and recovery of unforeseen issues that arose were documented to identify the common lessons learnt.

Five high level common lessons that can be applied to the current and future UK new build programme to help ensure smooth and economically efficient delivery were identified:

  • Follow-on replica stations are cheaper than first-of-a-kind
  • Designs should be mature and licensing issues resolved prior to construction
  • A highly qualified design and planning team is essential
  • Sub contractors used must be experienced or taught nuclear-specific construction skills
  • Early and effective engagement with community is crucial

The report can be downloaded here.