Wood Group, the Aberdeen energy services contractor, has been awarded a three-year contract to carry out research on fuels for advanced nuclear reactors as part of the UK’s plan to build domestic nuclear capabilities.
The contract, for an undisclosed sum, was let by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to Wood and the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), a state-owned organisation based in Sellafield in Cumbria. The work will be divided equally between the two.
The scope of the contract will include new analysis methods for studying the physics of reactors, and research into the thermal and fuel performance of advanced water-cooled reactors, high-temperature gas reactors and liquid metal fast reactors.
The strategic aim is to build up the UK’s nuclear expertise to build a fleet of third generation nuclear reactors over the next 20 years. It will also enable UK engineering to become more of a player in the race to develop fourth generation and small modular reactors.
The two companies issued a joint press release that said: "Effective immediately, the two organisations will deliver the research and development necessary to provide a world-leading reactor physics capability, based around UK modelling and simulation tools, that will support the design, qualification and fabrication of advanced nuclear fuels within the UK."
Bob MacDonald, head of Specialist Technical Solutions at Wood, said: "Securing this work positions us very well for design opportunities on future reactor types, including small modular reactors, and positions us at the forefront of development in this area, creating potential benefits for existing nuclear generation customers. We will also be playing our part in developing key nuclear skills to help the UK meet its future energy needs."
In December, Wood won a £16m contract to supply inspection qualification services to the Hinkley Point C reactor project (pictured).
Image: Work under way at Hinkley Point C in October last year (EDF)