FIRST FAST STEPS ON “MOORSIDE” PROJECT

Published: March 4, 2015

Moorside project site next to Sellafield

 

For NuGen, developing a new 3 unit 3,400 MW NPP in the UK is a highly challenging project requiring special expertise – and a dash of critical speed! As Owner’s Engineer, Tractebel Engineering is on hand to provide support and fast-track the Moorside NPP project in its multidisciplinary early phases.

A NUCLEAR GENERATION PROJECT IN HIGH GEAR

NuGeneration Ltd (NuGen) is a jointly owned (Toshiba 60% and GDF SUEZ 40%) UK nuclear company pursuing plans to develop a 3 unit 3,400 MW NPP on the nuclear-oriented West Cumbrian Coast. Read more.

BROAD EXPERTISE EARNS TRACTEBEL ENGINEERING A KEY ROLE

Having carried out Due Diligence for GDF SUEZ in 2009 on several UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) nuclear development sites, as Owner’s Engineer, Tractebel Engineering is now providing services and support on 2 axes to NuGen. Read more.

PARALLEL MULTIDISCIPLINARY MISSIONS UNDERWAY

While a Stage Gate development process is being followed – actual activity paths see many investigations and tasks overlapping. Tractebel Engineering’s ability to simultaneously draw on many different competences is a benefit when addressing critical and near critical paths in view of future Planning Permission and Licencing. Read more.



Moorside project site next to Sellafield

 

A NUCLEAR GENERATION PROJECT IN HIGH GEAR

 

NuGeneration Ltd (NuGEN) was registered as a company in 2010. GDF SUEZ, Iberdrola and Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE later left the consortium) joined forces in the race to acquire prime NPP development sites auctioned by the UK NDA. In 2011, NuGen successfully secured a land-purchase option on a site next to Sellafield (an existing nuclear waste management and reprocessing plant), on the West Cumbrian Coast. NuGen named the project Moorside.

A BOOST TO ACTIVITY
Welcomed by the local population (positive about the possible employment opportunities), early planning work, discussions with local authorities and standard investigation of any prior radio-contamination were soon underway. But the real boost came when Iberdrola sold its full NuGen share to Toshiba (Group owners of Westinghouse – supplier of the AP1000 technology selected for Moorside). Giving drive and direction to the project, the new shareholders’ agreement, signed by GDF SUEZ and Toshiba on June 30, 2014, outlines the Stage Gate process that NuGen has elected to follow up to the Final Investment Decision – ahead of construction.

A FIRST CRITICAL STEP
With the long-term plan being to achieve Moorside’s first phase of commercial operation by 2024 – a great deal of activity is foreseen in coming years. But the most pressing and critical step is to demonstrate Site Suitability¹ before June 2015 – the deadline for NuGen to decide whether or not to go on with an interim lease of the site currently held on option.

¹Site Suitability investigation concerns any issues (as outlined by the International Atomic Energy Agency), that would negate an NPP site because the issues cannot be mitigated by a design solution. The goal is to confirm that no exclusionary issues make the site permanently unsuitable for NPP development.

BROAD EXPERTISE EARNS TRACTEBEL ENGINEERING A KEY ROLE

 

TWO AXES OF SUPPORT AS OWNER’S ENGINEER:

  1. Project Management and Organisational Support: while helping to control the project, Tractebel Engineering will also be assisting NuGen to organise and build its capabilities from an engineering point of view as an “Intelligent Customer/ Operator” (defined as a company demonstrating, in the eyes of the international nuclear community and UK authorities, that it has the credentials, resources, knowledge, structures etc. to safely develop, manage and operate a NPP). This is crucial for NuGen to obtain its operating licence from the Office of Nuclear Regulation (ONR).
  2. Development and technical work leading to Final Investment Decision: this includes the short and long-term planning of the project, specification of the work packages, selection of suppliers and review of their outputs; as well as helping to achieve approval of the AP1000 technology in terms of final Generic Design Assessment (GDA) findings and acceptance related to site-specific operation by NuGen as future licensee.

 

“It’s a challenge for NuGen to establish itself as a functioning nuclear operator in a relatively short time and a broad and interesting Project Management challenge for us too. But together we are making a positive start and many engineering companies envy Tractebel Engineering’s involvement at this stage, knowing that it puts us in a good position to continue working with and assisting NuGen in the longer-term”.
Philippe Monette, New Build and Operational Support Department Manager, Tractebel Engineering Nuclear


PARALLEL MULTIDISCIPLINARY MISSIONS UNDERWAY

 

SET TO GO – PRIORITY STEPS
With the first critical decision deadline mid-2015, priority focus is on Site Suitability investigations; with Tractebel Engineering’s geoscience experts supporting NuGen and its contractors in a wide array of geological and seismology surveys, involving e.g. fault age dating and drilling 150m to 200m deep boreholes, to check the site for any exclusionary criteria.

In addition, several other engineering activities are already up and running under the guidance of Tractebel Engineering experts:

  • Leading from Site Suitability investigations: further Environmental Assessment, geotechnical, geological, bathymetry (sea bed) and all other surveys critical to Site Characterisation and the final NPP site layout and design are underway.
  • Pre-layout studies and basic design for the plant; in particular the water inlet/outlet cooling options.
  • The start of the design and licensing phase – requiring multiple applications and design & safety justifications as well as required Emergency Plans (during construction and operational phases), addressing the vicinity with the Sellafield nuclear complex; a Funded Decommissioning Plan; and future Waste Management Plan.

 

“The benefit from a NuGen perspective is that Tractebel Engineering expertise covers most domains (nuclear and non-nuclear specific) that have to be addressed in such a project. Today around 20 Tractebel Engineering engineers are allocated full-time to the project. More expertise is readily on hand as specific topics arise and the team is likely to double by mid 2016. With 4 to 5 years’ to go to the Financial Investment Decision there’s a lot of work to be done – but given the privilege and the interesting challenges of working on a new NPP, we won’t be short of experts willing to participate!”
Valery Latour, Tractebel Engineering; Business Manager – Nuclear New Build and Moorside Project Director

WELL SAID

On June 30, 2014, when closing the deal with Toshiba, GDF SUEZ Chairman and CEO, Gérard Mestrallet, stated: “The industrial partnership with Toshiba and Westinghouse and the pursuit of the NuGen project reflects GDF SUEZ’ nuclear strategy and ambitions. GDF SUEZ has a solid track record in developing and managing substantial energy projects around the world, in-depth knowledge of diverse market models and broad experience of all types of power generation, including nuclear energy. We wish to mention and recognize the U.K.’s strong strategic vision and political consensus which have enabled the framework designed to ensure a secure, low-carbon electricity generation future – with nuclear energy as part of it, while remaining attractive to investors.”

ADDED SUPPORT

In light of the scale and long-term importance of NuGen’s Moorside project, Tractebel Engineering will create a new Branch Office in Manchester to provide local presence. The company has also teamed up with UK partner Jacobs Engineering to assure additional local support is on hand as required.

AP1000 VALUE

Tractebel Engineering supports all nuclear technologies according to local situation and client needs: EPR by Areva; advanced PWR by Mitsubishi; AP1000 by Westinghouse; ATMEA1 by Mitsubishi/ Areva (new Sinop NPP, Turkey). Strong points for AP1000 for Moorside are:

  • AP1000’s robust design and use of passive safety systems means the plant could cool itself down after an external event/severe accident with no need for back-up safety components.
  • AP1000 is modular in construction with each module supplied containing its relevant equipment resulting in easier placement, assembly, connection for faster, cost-effective construction.

More information

Valéry LatourBusiness Manager Nuclear New Build & Moorside Project Director, Tractebel Engineering Nuclear

Philippe MonetteNew Build and Operational Support Department Manager, Tractebel Engineering Nuclear

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