Major nuclear manufacturing operation opens in north Wales
Up to 200 highly skilled, long-term jobs are being created at a major nuclear manufacturing operation which will officially open in north Wales today.
French engineering giant Boccard has unveiled its first major nuclear production facility in the UK close to the Airbus factory in Broughton,
The development will support the growth of the UK’s reputation as a significant strategic location for the advancement of nuclear technologies.
The Boccard Broughton facility will generate 200 highly skilled jobs, of which 50 will be in the supply chain.
The new facility will provide a major boost to the Deeside area, Broughton is home to Airbus’ wing production operations, as well as the £20m Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) which opened in 2019.
The new Broughton facility will be home to the Boccard’s proprietary fully digitalised process for the design and manufacture of high-integrity piping systems, associated supports, tanks and vessels.
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.
The new Broughton operation will build on Boccard’s track record spanning 50 years in the nuclear industry, in which time the company has supported new build programmes having 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.
Hinkley Point C, when up and running will generate enough energy to power around 6 million homes over a lifespan of more than 60 years.
Highly-skilled labour pool
Bruno Boccard, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Boccard: “Our new facility in North Wales marks a major development in our more than 100-year history and forms part of our strategy to expand our nuclear business here in the UK and our European portfolio.”
“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.”
Bruno said: “As a business we will be using our five decades of experience across the board, covering design and manufacture, to be at the forefront of driving the solutions of tomorrow in arguably the energy sector that offers the most potential in helping the world achieve its decarbonisation targets as governments globally respond to the challenge of climate change.”
“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.
“Moreover, our investment will support sovereign capability manufacturing in the nuclear industry, helping to position the UK as a leading global force in the sector.” The Boccard chief said.
Nigel Cann, Hinkley Point C Delivery Director,said: “Hinkley Point C provides over 25,000 job opportunities across the UK and will invest £18 billion into the UK supply chain.
“We have strong links with Wales, with Welsh workers dominant on the construction site.”
“The factory here at Broughton allows our partner Boccard to create quality products with a skilled workforce for Hinkley Point C and follow-on projects.”
“I am very happy to be here at the start of the great opportunity this factory and the product it produces offers.”
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.”
The UK Government’s strategy includes a significant acceleration of nuclear, with an ambition of up to 24GW by 2050, which will represent up to around 25% of Britain’s projected electricity demand.
A key focus of the strategy will be the development of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) which are already in development and represent the new nuclear era.
A new UK government body, Great British Nuclear, has been set up to bring forward new projects, backed by substantial funding, and a £120 million Future Nuclear Enabling Fund has also been launched.
Rolls-Royce has shortlisted two sites in Deeside for their first small nuclear reactor (SMR) factory.
In July, Rolls-Royce SMR announced its shortlisted locations for the first factory to manufacture components for its small nuclear reactor power station project.
A site named ‘Gateway’ in Deeside was one of the six on the initial UK-wide list, other locations include Sunderland in Tyne and Wear, Richmond in North Yorkshire, Ferrybridge in Yorkshire, Stallingborough in Lincolnshire and Carlisle in Cumbria.
A site at Tata Shotton has recently been added to the shortlist.
Boccard was founded in 1918 and employing 3,500 employees across operations in 35 countries worldwide.
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