EDF named the only source of ‘niche’ expertise needed to assess new nuclear reactor designs

National Nuclear Laboratory has published an intention to award funding of £1,290,000 to support Generic Design Assessment (GDA) of advanced nuclear power stations to EDF, saying the company has unique experience.
The company was chosen by negotiation rather than competition, NNL said, because as the only nuclear operator in the UK currently, EDF has a “unique and exclusive combination of skills built on real world experience” to support NNL with the GDA maturity steps.
It said, “The technologies being considered under this project will require the industry to innovate in order to utilise new techniques and approaches to construction and fabrication. EDF can provide a holistic view to delivering such projects given their wide experience not only in nuclear but also in non-nuclear power generation and related technologies”.
“Niche specialisms” offer some of the biggest challenges for new designs. They are limited in the supply chain and in some cases are unique to EDF, said NNL. It named topics such as structural integrity, graphite, fuel route, environment protection, radiological protection, control and instrumentation, fuel core and fault studies, human factors and design authority
It said, “EDF’s previous experience of these topics and safety case management knowledge in these areas allows the project to mitigate these risks appropriately upfront via the safety case rather than by design changes”. Proven technical expertise and experience as a nuclear operator within the UK regulatory framework is an essential requirement for the fulfilment for these services. The “operator’s voice” will help guide the design to maximise the safety and commercial performance.

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