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UK government funds digital reactor design

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UK government has contracted project management firm, Amec Foster Wheeler, to lead a £2.9 million nuclear research program.

The £2.9 million contract from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will focus on the set up of a UK digital Reactor Design Partnership that will focus on the use of virtual engineering and high-performance computing (HPC) to enhance the techniques used to design reactors and optimise their performance.

Clive White, President of Amec Foster Wheeler’s Clean Energy business stated: ‘We are delighted to be working with BEIS and our partners to establish a virtual network that will enhance the techniques used in reactor design, in assessing how reactors will perform during their operating life and how this can be optimised.’

‘We will be bringing together expertise from industry and academia combining the latest digital techniques, such as virtual engineering, with advanced multi-physics modelling and simulation expertise. The objective is to enhance reactor design capability and assist UK industry to play a crucial role in our future energy security’ added White.

The project is part of a broader effort to put UK industry at the forefront of developing Generation IV and small modular reactors, which could play a key role in meeting the UK’s future energy needs. The aim is to achieve a step change in the way that nuclear design, development, and construction programs are delivered.

Amec Foster Wheeler is supported by partners and sub-contractors from industry, academia, and science, including the University of Liverpool’s Virtual Engineering Centre, the Hartree Centre, National Nuclear Laboratory, Rolls-Royce, EDF Energy, the University of Cambridge and Imperial College London.

‘We see the Digital Reactor Design program as the first stage in transforming the way that the UK Nuclear industry will design and build new facilities and strengthen capabilities across the sector for the future’ said Professor Eann Patterson, University of Liverpool, and lead academic for the project.’

Richard Harrington MP, Energy Minister at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy commented: ‘I’m very pleased to have awarded virtual engineering, structural materials and nuclear design codes and standards contracts to Amec Foster Wheeler. Partnering with leading UK organisations in the nuclear industry will have a big part to play in helping deliver on our department’s big initiatives, including the Clean Growth Plan and the Industrial Strategy.’