Businesses gather to hear about the opportunities a £50 billion South West nuclear sector brings

By Anita Jaynes on 15 February, 2016

There’s been much talk about the South West becoming a nuclear hub in the next two decades, with 15 projects worth £50 billion.

Nuclear South West, the nuclear cluster for the region, provides a platform for businesses to take advantage of this growing sector.

The first Nuclear South West networking breakfast at Leigh Court attracted 60 businesses keen to hear about the future of the industry and the opportunities available to local businesses.

Attendees got the chance to hear from industry leaders EDF Energy, who reached a Strategic Investment Agreement with China to build a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C, and Costain, who provide engineering and programme management for the nuclear and defence industries, powering the UK’s nuclear legacy.

Commenting on what the sector means for local firms, Jessica Vallentine, Project Manager at Nuclear South West, said: “Many businesses in the South West might see nuclear in the news and think that the supply chain opportunities don’t relate to them, but the sheer scale of the sector means there are opportunities for those that haven’t previously considered nuclear, as well as those already in the sector. For our region to make the most out of this huge opportunity we need to spread the message to all corners of the business community.”

David Eccles, Head of Stakeholder Engagement at EDF Energy, said: “The numbers speak for themselves and it’s great to see so many businesses showing an interest. Hinkley Point C is set to be the largest construction project in Europe. £100 million will be pumped into the local economy each year during construction, while there will be 25,000 job opportunities and apprenticeships – it all shows just how much work there is to be done.”

Sarah-Jane Waith, Head of Supply Chain (Infrastructure) at Costain, said: “A project the size of Hinkley Point C requires significant infrastructure improvements to accommodate it. From site set up, to highways, tunnelling and offshore works, there are plenty of opportunities for local firms to get involved. We are encouraging more businesses to register their interest with us now.”

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