The investment will fund feasibility projects, collaborative research and development and Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) that stimulate innovation and strengthen the UK supply chain.
Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said “This is an important and exciting time for the UK civil nuclear industry. With potential for investment and innovation in the new-build and decommissioning markets, now is the right time to make sure that the UK is best placed to win orders and grow global market share.
Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, added “Innovation is key if UK businesses are to take advantage of likely future global market opportunities in civil nuclear engineering and its associated technologies. As part of a strong, sustainable supply chain, we see innovation, combined with the development and transfer of skills, as vital ingredients to success. Hence, with our delivery partners, we are launching an integrated collaborative R&D programme combined with a focussed call for KTPs.”
The investment will support innovative technologies that can be used in the construction, commissioning, operation, maintenance, waste management and decommissioning of nuclear plant in a safe, economic and sustainable manner.
Up to £12 million will be made available for business-led collaborative research and development projects. Up to £2 million will be invested in feasibility studies and a further £1 million will be available to support Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs), which will focus on the transfer of knowledge and skills into industry from academia.
The competitions for collaborative R&D projects and feasibility studies will support innovative technologies to help UK business benefit from the resurgence in civil nuclear fission power generation and decommissioning. Applicants will have to show how they will help strengthen the UK supply chain whilst contributing to the high-level, long-term challenge of developing cost-effective and safe solutions with high reliability and durability in the nuclear sector. They must also take account of the key issues of regulation, health and safety and non-proliferation.
The targeted call for KTPs is focused specifically on the exchange of knowledge and skills from academia into the nuclear supply chain and will be run in parallel with the other competitions. It will help businesses to improve their competitiveness, productivity and performance in the nuclear sector through the better use of the knowledge, technology and skills that are already available within the UK knowledge base.