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Sunday, 21 September 2014

Cumbrian company part of £400m nuclear deal

BRITAIN’S planned fleet of electricity-producing nuclear reactors could result in a massive business boost for a well-known Cumbrian firm.

Bendalls of Carlisle is among 25 UK companies who recently signed a “memoranda of understanding” with Areva.

The French nuclear giant plans to build what will be the first of the new reactor fleet at Hinkley Point, Somerset. The total value of the work covered by the MOU is £400 million.

If all goes to plan Bendalls will be in line to build pressure vessels for two reactors which Areva and its partner EDF Energy would like to build.

The partners also have plans for Sizewell in Suffolk.

Two potential Hinkley Point obstacles have been overcome.

The Office of Nuclear Regulation has awarded a Hinkley Point site licence to Areva/EDF while regulators have approved the reactor design as safe and environmentally sound.

The development is still subject to planning permission and the partners are expected to make a final investment decision later in the year.

Managing director of Bendalls, Norman Addison, said: “Hinkley Point will be the first of a new generation of UK nuclear power plants but there are still hurdles to overcome before work can start.

“All we can say is that it should be in the next few years and it could be worth tens of millions of pounds.

“Areva were also talking about further opportunities, not only in the UK but also for export.

“The work we have been doing for Sellafield over recent years has increased our capability to a level that enables us to quote for these new new nuclear situations.

“It enhances our capability and quality of manufacture.”

The family-founded firm employs 75 staff, including apprentices, and potentially Hinkley Point orders could create new jobs.

Areva’s chief operating officer Philippe Knoche said: “We are delighted to take part in the re-birth of the UK nuclear-build industry.

“We are committed to making as much use as possible of the UK’s excellent engineering skills and to develop these skills further.”

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