Posted: Mon 5th Dec 2022

Inside Airbus Broughton’s giant A380 wing plant now being used to make parts for nuclear power stations

Wrexham.com for people living in or visiting the wrexham area
This article is old - Published: Monday, Dec 5th, 2022

International industrial firm Boccard unveiled its first major nuclear production facility in the UK last week. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Chief executive, Bruno Boccard and executives were at Airbus Broughton to open the facility housed within the massive A380 wing factory. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Boccard has a track record spanning 50 years in the nuclear industry supporting new build programmes and been involved in the construction of most of France’s nuclear reactor fleet. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

In the UK, Boccard is involved with various contracts on the Hinkley Point C development which will be the first nuclear power station to be built in the UK for 20 years. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The company was established in France in 1918 by Joseph Boccard, It remains a family-owned business with Bruno and Patrick Boccard now leading the company. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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The A380 factory, where 1,200 staff once worked, was left redundant when the final wing left the site in 2020. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The Boccard Broughton facility is manufacturing high-integrity piping systems, supports, tanks and vessels for the nuclear industry. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

These are critical components in the construction of nuclear facilities and will support current and future nuclear technologies, from large-scale plants to fast-emerging small modular reactors and advanced reactor technologies, which will add to the energy generation mix. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Around 200 highly skilled jobs will be created at the site, 50 jobs will also be created in the supply chain. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Where possible locally sourced materials will be used in the manufacturing of the products. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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Speaking to Deeside.com, Douglas McQueen, Managing Director of Boccard UK said that “Anything that we can resource locally, we will. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“It is a very high quality product that we’re producing here, that has got very specific certification.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“But it’s all about focusing on the local community and that means the supply chain as well.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

As well as Boccard moving into the area, Rolls Royce has shortlisted  two sites in Deeside – one at TATA steel –  for its first factory to manufacture components for the company’s small nuclear reactor power station project. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Asked why Boccard chose Deeside, Douglas McQueen said there is a “nuclear technology cluster that exists around here, there’s a lot of industry, there’s power industry, there’s petrochem industry, there’s a large nuclear hub (Capenhurst) just around the corner as well.He said: “It’s far enough away from all the main nuclear facilities that it can be seen as an independent standalone cluster for this kind of work.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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Bruno Boccard said: “We have decided to locate our new digital state-of-the-art plant in Broughton as it is a growing focal point for the nuclear industries and therefore gives us access to a highly-skilled labour pool on our doorstep.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

He said: “Nuclear is now recognised as a major source of carbon-free energy, which is capable of meeting the world’s growing energy needs and environmental challenges.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“The UK government clearly believes in the future of this clean energy source and it will also provide much needed energy resilience, security and affordability at a time when supply of power is increasingly uncertain and the cost of energy production is spiralling.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said: “I’m very pleased to see Boccard investing in North Wales, which is testament to the skills and facilities we have in the region.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Close to the AMRC and other partners it shows how North Wales has the opportunity to be a major strategic location for nuclear development in the UK.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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