UK-based engineering company Cammell Laird has secured £200,000 in funding from the UK Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to develop its ability to build off-site modules for new nuclear projects. The work is being led by Cammell Laird and also involves the UK’s Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, Arup, Fraser Nash and Laing O’Rourke.
Jonathan Brown, the managing director of the Cammell Laird’s energy division, said the funding would be used run ‘Fit for Modules’ a series of events examining how best to build and test large modules at offsite locations before moving them to nuclear sites.
Advantages of offsite construction include cost savings, more efficient build and schedule times and not having to recruit a temporary workforce, but it is “essential” to develop a robust, reliable supply chain to support the construction of modules, according to Brown.
“Our aim is to bring together key industry players, including end users and supply chain companies, to brainstorm the challenges and propose solutions,” Brown said.
A final report on the work is expected to published in April 2018 and will detail areas for improvement, known as ‘interventions.’ The report will be put to government, which will run further programmes to implement agreed interventions.
Brown said that finding significant cost efficiencies is also “fundamental” to the project’s success. He noted that the UK nuclear new build programme is estimated to be worth up to £100bn over 30 years. “It is therefore imperative that as an industry, we make the programme work from a cost and schedule perspective, stripping out waste and any unnecessary expense,” Brown said.