Tie-in for European nuclear engineers

14 December 2010

A nuclear engineering partnership has been set up by Atkins and Assystem to target new nuclear power plans worldwide. 


The new 50-50 joint venture, to be known as the Nuclear Atkins Assystem Alliance, is already bidding for work around the world.


By joining forces for work outside their home territories of the UK and France, Atkins and Assystem hope to take advantage of their combined workforce of 27,000 - including 3000 nuclear specialists. They are aiming to take a substantial part of the estimated $16-20 billion market for consultancy, design and engineering among countries introducing nuclear power for the first time. This figure represents about 20% of the total spend on nuclear power in those countries over the next 20 years, said Atkins' nuclear strategy director, Phil Malem.


Each company will continue to operate independently in their home market and the tie-in prohibits them from forming other joint ventures with other firms. The joint venture will be headquartered in France and is likely to be active in the many territories where the firms have a presence.


Without detailing the countries the alliance is targeting the managing director of Atkins' energy business, Martin Grant, said that a list had been drawn up using a number of criteria. First of course is the likelihood of a commitment to nuclear power, but also important would be receptiveness to a European approach and confidence in a level playing field for bidders. There is no technological preference for any one reactor design.


Speaking on a conference call today, Grant pointed out the companies' similarity having grown with the pioneering nuclear industries of France and the UK. The two also both place high regard on technical ability and corporate governance, Grant said, and in addition have been collaborating as part of the Engage consortium working on Iter.


Grant emphasised that building a major skills base was the compelling purpose of the joint venture in order to take a presence on the global level. Between them the pair have the capability to work on "a handful" of nuclear power plant projects simultaneously, with skilled support coming from recent build experience in civil and military nuclear sectors.


Researched and written
by World Nuclear News

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