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Nuclear drive to aid SME contractors

7 Dec 12 Small and medium sized construction companies are to get state support to help enter the nuclear market under a new initiative from the government.

The nuclear supply chain action plan sets out 30 actions designed to ensure that British companies are capable of building the new generation of nuclear power stations that the government wants to see built.

SME contractors will be given guidance on the completion of pre-qualification questionnaires (PQQs) and how to produce technically capable and competitive bids for tenders for new build, maintenance and decommissioning.

Other key measures in the action plan – developed with the nuclear industry – include:

  • Establishment of the Nuclear Industry Council – which will hold its first meeting in the first quarter of 2013;
  • Establishment of working groups of major companies from each sub-sector to identify challenges and the joint actions to improve readiness for new build;
  • Addressing key skills shortages through targeted interventions that attract new people to the sector, including redeployment of existing skills and drawing in relevant skills from related industries (up-skilling where needed); and
  • Development of a coordinated nuclear export strategy with agreed market priorities and the development of specific campaigns, to enhance the nuclear industry’s understanding of, and access to, export opportunities.

Ministers said that the nuclear industry would play a major role in securing the nation’s energy supplies and driving economic growth.

Energy minister John Hayes said: “Energy is central to our economic future and at the heart of all we do as a nation. Just as atoms collide in a nuclear reactor, the economic benefits of our nuclear renaissance will reverberate far and wide across the country.

“Our action plan for the nuclear supply chain will set out how the UK can make the most of future opportunities presented by around £60bn of new investment.”

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Business minister Michael Fallon added: “This action plan is an important part of our work with industry to shape a vibrant UK nuclear industry, and to ensure the UK exploits the commercial opportunities that exist and is a leading player in the expanding global nuclear market.

“We are determined to exploit our strengths and believe this is a sector where a partnership between government and industry can help give the UK a competitive edge in the global race. It’s a key sector in our industrial strategy.”

Welcoming the action plan, Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) director general Nick Baveystock said: “The programme presents an opportunity to develop a world leading and exportable skills base. The clear set of actions presented in this plan bring together industry, government, professional and skills bodies to ensure the UK’s ability and reputation for delivering large-scale nuclear projects is first rate, benefitting the industry as a whole.

“ICE will continue the work it started in the 2010 Nuclear Lessons Learned projects. We will work with Constructing Excellence, the Nuclear Industry Association and other professional bodies to facilitate the creation of an industry-led construction forum to ensure the UK new build programme benefits from lessons learned on real projects.”

The full action plan can be downloaded at.

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