Sights set on future nuclear

23 November 2009

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An indicative model of Hinkley Point C (Image: YRM)


An international partnership has been set up to tackle the architectural challenges of design for new nuclear projects.


Nuclear Design Partnership is the result of collaboration between London-based YRM and TRO Jung Brannan of Boston. John Clemow, CEO of YRM, told World Nuclear News the move came after the contract from EDF Energy to act as overall architect for the forthcoming reactors at Hinkley Point.


Clemow said the partnership was stimulated by two main factors. First is that nuclear developments require the ability to design a very wide range of buildings on one site - including logistic, scientific, teaching, workplace, storage and social spaces. Both firms have this kind of broad scope, he said, while nuclear power's future growth in Europe, the USA and China calls for a collaboration with international reach.


"The new wave of nuclear power really requires the capacity and capability of fairly substantial teams. We see a number of consultants teaming up the same way that energy companies are teaming up to form larger groups to be ready for the new build program."


Sizewell B (British Energy)

Sizewell B. One of YRM's previous projects (Image: British Energy)


And the design of the facilities will be more important than ever: "A lot of sites are in the natural environment, with large bodies of water, and the whole sensibility of environmental integration and design has moved on dramatically since the early program of nuclear power."


The results of good design should be a "noble" plant which stands proud of its surroundings and uses straightforward buildings.


YRM's work on Hinkley Point C involves adapting the plant outline of Flamanville 3 to the new site's quite different topology and geography. Its proposed appearance was revealed for the public consultation launched last week.


In the past YRM has undertaken a number of nuclear projects covering decommissioning programs as well as the look of Sizewell B, the last new reactor built in the UK. That plant's visual success, Clemow said, is down to its good proportions and that it sits well in the landscape. Although the exact colour of its cladding makes no real cost difference, the contrast and colours were "well thought through decisions." Given the overall cost of nuclear build, the additional cost of design details such as these is very small.