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Bristol selected to advise energy industry on safety of nuclear equipment

28 March 2019

The University of Bristol has signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work with major national and international players in the energy market to ensure that all nuclear equipment meets required standards.

Under the partnership with EQUALLETM (an alliance of Framatome, Bureau Veritas, Doosan Babcock), Bristol will act as an expert guide for EQUALLE’s partners and suppliers, undertaking seismic qualification of equipment going onto nuclear power plants in the UK. 

Seismic qualification testing ordinarily involves shaking the equipment with simulated earthquakes to prove its safe operation during and after a seismic event. 

Bristol’s “shaking table” has already been used to understand the behaviour of core reactors during seismic activities. Now, with new projects such as Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C, the ambition of this cooperation is to contribute to nuclear safety in the years to come whilst reducing risks, costs and securing project schedules.

“This is a great example of how the research we do in the Faculty of Engineering here at Bristol has major impact on industrial applications and the future of infrastructure design in the UK and across the world,” said Professor Ian Bond, University of Bristol’s Dean of Engineering. “This partnership highlights how academia and industry can work closely together to provide a unique offering”.

Qualifying nuclear equipment is often underestimated, notwithstanding the complex calculation, analysis, stringent physical testing competencies and technologies it involves. Since 1988, the Earthquake and Geotechnical Engineering Research Group, in Bristol’s Faculty of Engineering has been heavily involved with UK civil nuclear stakeholders.

Already working with EDF Energy, substantial activities have been taking place to support the case for the UK Nuclear Plants life extension.

The development of a long-term relationship between EQUALLE and the University of Bristol will aim to foster research activities and create added value to each other’s offerings and activities.

Thomas Epron, VP Global sales, Framatome’s Installed Base Business Unit, said: “This new partnership in equipment qualification with Bristol University is an additional step to build a comprehensive offer to the UK nuclear industry, and to contribute to the success of our customers’ projects by providing customized, local, efficient and cost-effective solutions.”

Dr Adam Crewe, Reader in Earthquake Engineering and laboratory leader, added: “This alliance will help Bristol expand its seismic qualification services for the UK nuclear industry and is very timely as we are currently investing in two new shaking tables to increase the range of seismic qualification tests we offer.”

Further information

About EQUALLETM: The alliance of Framatome, Bureau Veritas and Doosan Babcock created in February 2018 to address the challenges of nuclear Equipment Qualification for the benefit of new build projects and in-service reactors.

The South West Nuclear Hub provides a focus for nuclear innovation, research and teaching in the south west of the UK. The Hub incorporates the existing collaboration between the Universities of Bristol and Oxford, within the Nuclear Research Centre (NRC). With a dedicated building, opened in summer 2016 at the University of Bristol, the Hub has introduced a step-change across higher education in the region to accelerate and grow nuclear research and teaching activities. The Hub provides a location for academia, industry and government to come together to meet the opportunities and challenges facing nuclear energy in the UK.

Framatome is a major international player in the nuclear energy market recognized for its innovative solutions and value-added technologies for designing, building, maintaining, and advancing the global nuclear fleet. The company designs, manufactures, and installs components and fuel for nuclear power plants and offers a full range of reactor services.

Bureau Veritas is a world leader in laboratory testing, inspection and certification services. Created in 1828, Bureau Veritas helps its clients improve their performance by offering services and innovative solutions in order to ensure that their assets, products, infrastructure and processes meet standards and regulations in terms of quality, health and safety, environmental protection and social responsibility.

Doosan Babcock is a specialist in the delivery of engineering, aftermarket and upgrade services to the power generation, oil and gas, aetrochemical and process sectors. With a focus on the delivery of low-carbon technologies and an industry-leading project management capability, the company builds, maintains and extends the life of customer assets worldwide.

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