Rolls-Royce joins EdF's project team

16 September 2009

Rolls-Royce has found a role in Electricité de France's (EdF's) UK new build plans in pre- and post-construction support. Meanwhile a consultation is set to start on the grid connection for the first of the forthcoming reactors.


The agreement announced today by Rolls-Royce and EDF Energy is among the early deals made to support the project to build four 1650 MWe Areva EPR units at the sites EDF Energy gained with the £12.5 billion ($23.1 billion) takeover of British Energy a year ago.


Another deal has already been made with architects YRM relating to the 'architectural vision' of the new power plant buildings while Amec has been contracted by EdF and Areva to provide technical support for the Generic Design Assessment process certifying the suitability of the EPR design.


The first to be built will be Hinkley Point C, which EDF Energy says it wants to begin operating by the end of 2017. The UK National Grid company also announced today that a "major public consultation" would start next month on the 60 kilometre route an upgraded transmission line would take in order to feed the power to the wider country.


Hinkley Point A and B (Richard Baker)
Hinkley Point A and B - in blue and grey respectively 
(Image: Richard Baker)


National Grid said it would make best use of an existing 132 kV grid connection, but the sheer size of the new nuclear power plant made an upgrade to a 400 kV line essential. The two EPRs at Hinkley Point C will have a total capacity of 3300 MWe - far in excess of the 1320 MWe of the two Hinkley Point B units still operating and the 500 MWe of the Hinkley Point A reactors that shut down in 2000.


Two corridors are outlined for the overhead cables with a range of options, one of which involves the straight decommissioning and replacement of the existing line. The cost of the work is to be about £74 million ($122 million), depending on the final route.


The Advanced Gas-cooled Reactors operating now at Hinkley Point B are currently slated for shutdown in 2016, one year ahead of the first new reactor. EDF Energy wants to build a further two EPRs at Sizewell C with completion coming in around 2025, two years after the earliest shutdown date for the pressurized water reactor at Sizewell B. That unit, however, will most likely undergo major maintenance at that time to extend its planned life by something like 20 years.