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Nuclear Spotlight

18 May 2010

Costain sustained its profile in the rapidly-developing market for new-build nuclear power stations with its presence at a major London conference on prospects for the sector.

The Group was a gold sponsor of the two-day event at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, which attracted several of the power generation companies planning to build new nuclear generating plants, as well as representatives of the nuclear industry regulators and the reactor vendors.

It was organised by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the Nuclear Institute and the Nuclear Industries Association.  HRH the Duke of York was in attendance.

Topics covered by speakers included issues such as global opportunities for nuclear power, the supply chain and the skills gap in the UK workforce: the UK has not built a new nuclear power station for more than 15 years.

However, with a rapidly looming 'energy gap', caused partly by old nuclear stations reaching the end of their working lives, a fleet of around 10 new stations is being proposed by investors within the regulatory framework set out by the government.

"It was very worthwhile," reports Brian Slaney, Business Development Manager, Costain Nuclear. "It was a good opportunity to update and network with others in the industry. A lot of joint ventures (JVs) and consortia are being formed, so it was very useful to keep abreast of developments."

Costain has formed two consortia to pursue nuclear new build opportunities. The first is with Sir Robert McAlpine to form a strong British 'brand' that will focus on the preliminary works, which include earthworks, marine works and tunnelling.

This JV has been enhanced with the inclusion of Hochtief and Heitkamp to focus on larger construction packages, which include the nuclear & turbine 'islands' of the stations, and the balance of plant.

This enhanced JV has been branded Construct Energy and offers more than 50 years of nuclear construction experience including current builds at Flamanville in France and Olkiluoto in Finland.