Assystem joins HPC Commissioning Alliance

20 January 2022

International engineering group Assystem has been appointed as an alliance partner on the new Hinkley Point C (HPC) Commissioning Alliance. The company said this new multi-year contract will be key to bringing the UK's first new nuclear power plant in more than 30 years into operation.

How the completed Hinkley Point C plant should appear (Image: EDF Energy)

Assystem said it will bring its extensive experience in commissioning EPR reactor technology to "provide assurance that the plant's nuclear, safety, instrumentation and communications systems meet pre-determined operational requirements."

The company, as a strategic partner to EDF, has knowledge and experience of the EPR technology under construction at HPC, gained through the commissioning of other EPR reactors in France, Finland and China.

It noted the creation of the Commissioning Alliance "marks a unique moment in the UK's civil nuclear history, being the first time that a nuclear power plant has been prepared for operation since Sizewell B in the 1980s." 

Assystem is delighted to be part of the Commissioning Alliance, to which we will bring our global expertise of commissioning, training schemes and proven digital tools to create a new civil nuclear commissioning capability for the UK," said Assystem Managing Director Simon Barber.

"The Commissioning Alliance will drive investment in UK-based skills as it will require the recruitment of apprentices, graduates and experienced engineers who are new to nuclear, to provide an exciting career in delivering a first-of-a-kind new nuclear project in well over a generation.

"This major contract will be significant in creating jobs across the UK, particularly local to the HPC site, in our offices in Bristol, and also at our other offices in the UK, including Blackburn, Sunderland and Derby."

Assystem said it is investing in achieving greater diversity in the Commissioning Alliance through its new graduate scheme, which includes a specific commitment to attract at least 100 women to UK nuclear roles by 2025.

Hinkley Point C, construction of which began in December 2018, is composed of two EPR reactors of 1630 MWe each. Unit 1 is scheduled to begin supplying power in 2026, with unit 2 following in 2027.

In December 2018, unit 1 of the Taishan plant in China's Guangdong province became the first EPR to enter commercial operation. Taishan 2 began commercial operation in September 2019. In December 2021, the Olkiluoto 3 EPR, construction of which began in 2005, reached first criticality. The reactor is the first new nuclear unit to be commissioned in Finland in more than 40 years. The loading of fuel into the Flamanville EPR in France, construction of which began in December 2007, is scheduled for the end of 2022.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News