UK’s Nuclear South West Cluster launched at the World Nuclear Exhibition in Paris

Nuclear South West partners, including delegates from the Heart of the South West, West of England and Gloucester 1st Local Enterprise Partnerships, Somerset and Sedgemoor Councils, SWMAS, Hinkley Supply Chain Team, the Nuclear Industry Network and the University of Bristol, attended the World Nuclear Exhibition (WNE) in Paris earlier this month.

WNE is the leading event for global nuclear business, attended by 10,000 visitors from every nation with a nuclear industry. The Nuclear South West delegation promoted the region’s extensive nuclear capability and commercial opportunities to potential inward investors and companies seeking South West partnerships and generated hundreds of leads to follow up to attract potential investment into the South West area.

Nuclear South West is a public/private partnership supporting the nuclear industry with innovation, skills and £50 billion of supply chain opportunities.

This is an established and growing industry cluster with the highest number of licensed sites in the UK, featuring over 180 thriving nuclear-related organisations. Industry, research institutions and training providers, local, regional and national government partners work collaboratively to maximise the sizeable and diverse new nuclear, decommissioning and defence opportunities over the next 20-years. The partnership focuses on stimulating skills programmes, R&D innovation and international trade and investment.

Julia Stuckey, Inward Investment Manager on behalf of Nuclear South West said: “The Nuclear South West presence within the WNE UK Pavilion, was the first promotion of the cluster on the international stage, and was extremely well-received by the industry.

“We generated over 600 contacts during the event, including from France, Japan, China, Korea and Spain, and will follow-up to encourage investment and reinforce the region’s supply-chain opportunities and nuclear expertise. Partners also had encouraging conversations with other international clusters; an effective method of forming business relationships to encourage trade and investment activity”.

Jamie Townes, South West Nuclear Hub Engagement Manager at the University of Bristol said: “The size and scale of participation at the WNE reminded us that there is a strong international interest in nuclear as part of the future’s secure and sustainable energy mix.

“We made some important connections in Paris, with potential partners from around the world who are keen, through the South West Nuclear Hub, to access the significant capability in the region for science, engineering and innovation, and apply it to today’s nuclear generation and decommissioning, and to the design and application of the nuclear energy systems of tomorrow”.

David Howorth, Business Development Director at Jordan Manufacturing Limited, which specialises in bespoke fabrications for the nuclear industry (both new build and decommissioning), was also part of the Nuclear South West team. David said: “We found the event very worthwhile – meeting people that we would not otherwise have the opportunity to see simply by being on the Nuclear South West stand. We have a number of promising contacts to follow up”.

Steve Hindley, Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership said: “The South West is the UK’s leading region in the global nuclear renaissance and WNE enabled us to take this message to the key players in the international nuclear industry.

“We’re reassured to hear that the recent Brexit result doesn’t affect the Hinkley Point C investment by EDF – which will generate 25,000 new jobs and £18bn investment. And we’re always keen to add that there’s a wealth of nuclear opportunities, which, added to the Hinkley investment, total around £50bn, in sectors such as defence, decommissioning and new build.

“The Nuclear South West partnership did a great job promoting our area and I look forward to seeing the follow up in this new cross- LEP partnership with industry, education and business consortia.”

The National College for Nuclear was also launched during WNE, at a well-attended reception event. The South West hub of the College will open in 2017, to enhance the highly-skilled, technical workforce trained in the behaviours, expectations and culture of the nuclear sector.

WNE is part of Nuclear South West’s ongoing activity to establish and promote the South West on the global arena as a leading region for the nuclear sector. It is followed today by a Parliamentary reception at Westminster to showcase the industry amongst key Ministers and MPs. The full press release on “The South West – Powering the UK’s Nuclear Future” is available here