Wednesday, January 21, 2015

News: £1.5m Fit For Nuclear funding call

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The Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC) in Rotherham and the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) have unveiled £1.5m of support to help manufacturers enter or expand their presence in the growing nuclear sector.

Based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham, the £25m Nuclear AMRC is a joint initiative between the University of Sheffield, The University of Manchester, and a consortium of industry partners. It provides a focal point for the bulk of the UK civil nuclear manufacturing industry supply chain, ensuring that manufacturers in the UK have the capability and capacity required to compete for nuclear new build in the UK and globally, from skills training to research and development.

MAS has been a huge success since its launch in 2002. It now plays a vital role in helping UK manufacturers to share knowledge, improve productivity and achieve success in an increasing competitive global economy.

Fit 4 Nuclear helps companies measure their current operations against the standards required to supply the UK's new generation of nuclear power stations, and take the necessary steps to enter the UK's rapidly developing £60 billion civil nuclear new build sector and £1.5 billion a year decommissioning programme.

Backed by top tier partners including Areva and EDF Energy, the initiative offers a business improvement journey that will identify strategy, implement new processes, secure necessary accreditations and provide supplier matching opportunities.

The latest call offers grants of around £10,000 to companies and will allow management teams to drive business improvements in areas, such as improved manufacturing processes, factory layout, bid writing, training plans and strategy. Participants can also take advantage of the Nuclear AMRC's Nuclear Connections initiative, which helps link manufacturers to specific supply opportunities from the industry's top tiers.

Mike Tynan, chief executive of the Nuclear AMRC, said: "Smaller manufacturers have a vital role to play in civil nuclear, if they can meet the standards demanded by the industry's top tier. To win work, Yorkshire companies need to make sure they have the ability to meet safety, quality and cost standards, and can demonstrate that their specialist capabilities can deliver value to clients.

"We created Fit For Nuclear to help manufacturers close any gaps in performance, and this new funding will provide vital support for anyone taking the next steps and getting ready to compete for nuclear opportunities."

Steven Barr, head of MAS, added: "Almost 200 businesses have already embarked on Fit For Nuclear and more than 75% of these have recorded immediate tangible bottom-line benefits. This is just the start and the current funding call will look to accelerate the number of companies getting involved.

"Nuclear is seen as a difficult sector to break into. Yes requirements are different, but it's not as problematic as some people make out. He continued: F4N can take you throughout the entire journey, from the online capability check and on-site assessment, through to the generation of an action plan and a 50% grant towards improvement or R&D projects.

"We've successfully worked with manufacturers involved in aerospace, automotive, electronics, marine and general fabrication, taking their core expertise and making them applicable to nuclear."

Fit 4 Nuclear website

Images: Nuclear AMRC

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