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Cammell Laird strengthens Energy Division with £1.5m investment and new appointment

posted on August 8, 2014 categories Corporate News

Cammell Laird is ramping up its activity in the energy sector by investing more than £1.5m in its facilities and appointing a leading nuclear sector engineer.

John Eldridge, one of the most experienced figures in the UK nuclear industry, has joined Cammell Laird from Sellafield Ltd which operates the nuclear reprocessing plant in West Cumbria. He has a track record of more than 40 years working on the design, construction, commissioning and operation of nuclear facilities.

Cammell Laird CEO John Syvret CBE said the company is now making ‘serious progress’ in its campaign to position itself as one of the prime locations in Britain for the manufacture of modules for the multi-billion pound new build and decommissioning programmes (see notes to editors). The current spend on the UK’s £70bn decommissioning programme is around £3bn a year and the new nuclear power plant programme is estimated to be worth £100bn.

“John brings a wealth of experience and expertise to our team,” he said. “His knowledge will help us forge closer links with the nuclear industry enabling us to present innovative solutions to complex engineering challenges.

“In terms of our investment we have spent more than £1.5m in renovating one of the large workshops near the construction hall. The refurbishment has seen six cranes overhauled and a new roof, floor, electrics and lighting installed. It will provide a world-class facility to test and assemble modules and rigs for our nuclear clients.”

Mr Syvret said the workshop investment and appointment of Mr Eldridge demonstrated Cammell Laird’s ability and desire to grow in the nuclear sector.

 “We are ideally placed to service the considerable demands and needs of the nuclear industry over the next 30 years,” he said.  “We believe the nuclear sector can ignite job and wealth creation at Cammell Laird for the benefit of Wirral, Merseyside and the wider North West. We are already working with Liverpool and John Moores universities looking at developing the skills that will be needed to grasp the stellar opportunities in this multi-billion pound industry.”

Mr Eldridge said finding and developing innovative solutions will be fundamental to Cammell Laird’s future work in the nuclear sector.  

“This is a hugely exciting time to be at Cammell Laird and I am absolutely delighted to join John Syvret and the team here,” he said. “Power plant vendors want to broaden their supply chain and they want suppliers like Cammell Laird to find efficient, adaptable and flexible solutions. This combination of nuclear decommissioning and new build programmes is a watershed moment for the industry. It is taking a step back and thinking how can we improve what we do? There is an understanding that things cannot just be done in the same way. Technology has changed, and is changing, faster than ever before. For example, major process systems will be manufactured and commissioned under factory conditions before transfer to site and the typical ‘stick built’ approach to concrete structures will be transformed by the incorporation of huge steel modules. The steel modules we will make at Cammell Laird need to embrace innovation and have that adaptability. In decommissioning there are many unknowns given the nature and age of the materials, some of which go back 50 years to the beginning of the industry. So the modular systems we provide have to be sophisticated and have to be flexible.” 

“The changes in the nuclear industry are helping to trigger a renaissance in British engineering and manufacturing. Cammell Laird has always been at the forefront of innovation and our aim is to take that ethos into nuclear. It is fantastic that we can do that here on Merseyside in the UK rather than farm-work out overseas.”

 Mr Eldridge said a crucial element, recognised by Cammell Laird and all in the nuclear sector, is the urgent need to train and provide experience for the young engineers who will drive the programmes forward. An informal programme of secondment opportunities has already started across the sector which sees graduate engineers work on eight-month placements in Birkenhead. The first secondee is 24-year-old Rob Wild a mechanical engineer from Sellafield Ltd who will work in Cammell Laird’s Energy Division until January 2015.

Mr Eldridge joins Cammell Laird business development director David Williams in spearheading the company’s nuclear operations.



NEW BUILD (SOURCE: Nuclear Industry Association)

The UK is on the verge of a major programme of nuclear new build


In January 2008 the then Government announced that it was in the public interest that new nuclear should play a role in the UKs future energy mix. As such, Government invited companies to come forward with plans for the development of new nuclear power stations. 

The coalition Government which took power in May 2010 has backed the plans for new nuclear, and progress to new build remains on track.  

Government support:

The Government is supportive of – but not involved in – the delivery of a nuclear new build programme for the UK.

Though Government is not directly involved in new nuclear developments, the Office for Nuclear Development (OND), which is part of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), is involved in developing the stable policy framework which is essential for new build, removing unnecessary barriers and implementing facilitative actions. The DECC new build timeline provides an overview of Government actions and how they relate to processes being run by the regulators and activity by potential investors.


  • EDF Energy purchased British Energy and all its assets including land at Bradwell, Hartlepool, Heysham, Hinkley Point and Sizewell in January 2009. EDF Energy and Centrica have formed a 80/20 joint venture to take forward plans to build 6.4GW of new nuclear at Hinkley Point in Somerset and Sizewell in Suffolk using the Areva EPR reactor technology.
  • E.On and RWE formed a joint venture known as Horizon Nuclear Power, and purchased land at Wylfa on Anglesey and Oldbury in Gloucestershire with the intention to build at least 6GW of new nuclear capacity. The German companies have recently withdrawn from Horizon but new backers are being sought. No decision has yet been taken on reactor technology.
  • Iberdrola and GDF Suez formed the consortium NuGeneration Ltd and purchased land at Sellafield in Cumbria where they have announced plans to build 3.6GW of new nuclear. The consortium have yet to decide which reactor technology they will use.

Reactor technologies:

The UK new build programme will be based upon proven international designs – which will have been built elsewhere in the world before they are developed in the UK. Two designs are currently undergoing the Generic Design Assessment reactor-review process in the UK; the Areva EPR and the Westinghouse AP1000.

For more information on the EPR visit

For more information on the AP1000 visit

Additionally, you can find out how the Office for Nuclear Regulation and Environment Agency are currently working together to ensure that any new nuclear power stations built in the UK meet high standards of safety, security, environmental protection and waste management, by visiting


Policy framework:

There are currently a number of government processes which are essential to the timely delivery of new build. Primary amongst these are Regulatory Justification, the Generic Design Assesment (GDA) and the National Policy Statements (NPSs). For a comprehensive overview of each procedure, follow the links to relevant government pages; or for a summary overview see below.

Regulatory Justification is a European obligation under which the benefits of any new technology which could emit radiation must be demonstrated to outweigh any potential health detriments. NIA made the application to government on behalf of the industry, and the process was completed in October 2010 – with overwhelming parliamentary approval.

GDA is the process by which a reactor technology is assessed by the regulators for its suitability for UK build. This process is not site-specific and will be followed by relevant site permissioning. GDA is now almost complete.

NPSs are a key phase of the national process for major infrastructure planning, following the planning Act 2008. The NPSs outline the national policy on development of certain infrastructure and are a crucial phase of the planning process. On 18th July 2011 the House of Commons debated and approved the six National Policy Statements for Energy (NPS).


Electricity Market Reform

In late 2010 the Government proposed a new structure for electricity markets in the UK, described as the most radical reforms for 20 years.  After consultation, detailed ideas were set out in a 2011 White Paper, Planning our electric future – a White Paper for secure, affordable and low-carbon electricity.

More information on EMR.


After consideration in the National Policy Statements for nuclear the Government determined that the sites indicated below are potentially suitable for the deployment of new nuclear power stations in England and Wales before the end of 2025.

Moorside, Cumbria – NuGeneration

Heysham, Lancashire – EDF Energy, no plans yet

Wylfa, Anglesey – Horizon

Oldbury, Gloucestershire – Horizon

Hinkley Point, Somerset – EDF/Centrica

Hartlepool, County Durham – EDF no plans yet

Sizewell, Suffolk – EDF/Centrica

Bradwell, Essex – EDF no plans yet

DECOMISSIONING (Source Building Magazine)

The UK’s nuclear energy landscape is changing. Existing reactors are coming to the end of their operational life, and in 10 years, just one of the UK’s original fleet of 26 nuclear power stations, Sizewell B in Suffolk, will be operational. At the same time, delays continue to affect the start of work on the UK’s new generation of reactors – increasing the risk of an energy gap. In the meantime, the annual spend on nuclear decommissioning, the biggest clean-up programme in Europe, has reached £3bn.

Decommissioning is a key element of the government’s strategy of delivering low-carbon, affordable and safe energy. The challenges associated with the programme concern maintaining absolute levels of safety and security for the public and for the workforce, meeting social and environmental priorities, and ensuring that it is effectively managed and resourced to deliver lifetime value to taxpayers.

Most progress in the UK is being made on the Magnox sites, the UK’s original fleet of commercial nuclear reactors. Defuelling has been completed on seven sites, enabling the pace of decommissioning to accelerate. According to the 2012 Magnox plan, expenditure on preparations for “care and maintenance” (C&M) between 2013 and 2020 will total £3.2bn, averaging £400m a year. Compared with the new-build nuclear programme, valued at around £100bn, decommissioning is a smaller programme.

The objective of the decommissioning of the nuclear sites is to deliver them to a state of final site clearance, suitable for potential reuse. On the Magnox sites, the overall programme to get to final site clearance is determined by a period of radioactive decay, while a site is in a C&M state.

Recent innovation in procurement and programme delivery has focused on accelerating C&M preparation, and reducing the volume of material classified as intermediate and low-level waste.

During C&M, the reactor core and buildings within the radiological control area (RCA) remain on site. To get to this state, the following activities need to be undertaken:

  • Defuelling – removal of fuel for reprocessing at Sellafield. Fuel rods represent 99% of the on-site radioactive hazard
  • Deplanting – both within the RCA and outside the “nuclear island”
  • Cooling pond decommissioning – plant removal, waste removal and scabbling of irradiated concrete
  • Fuel element debris (FED) treatment – involving retrieval and dissolution to reduce waste volume. Once defuelling is complete, FED is the most hazardous material, and is difficult to retrieve and handle
  • Retrieval, processing and packaging of intermediate level waste (ILW) such as filter materials, sludge and other process byproducts
  • Decommissioning and demolition of contaminated buildings within and outside the RCA
  • Removal of asbestos and ground decontamination
  • Safestore construction and new systems overlay – including power, security, controls and so on, as well as the construction of a weathertight and secure storage building.

About Cammell Laird

Cammell Laird is one of the most famous names in British industry.

The business is located on the River Mersey, in the Liverpool City Region, on the West Coast of England. It is in the centre of a marine cluster, with direct access to many support services. It has a 120 acre site with four dry docks, a large modular construction hall and extensive covered workshops.

Cammell Laird specialises in military ship refit, commercial ship repair, upgrade and conversion and heavy fabrication and engineering. It deals with a wide variety of projects ranging from specialist offshore conversions and fabrication, commercial ship-repair through to the refit and upgrade of highly complex naval auxiliaries. It has also recently re-entered the ship-building market.

 The business is further active in the energy sector. It has become a hub of the offshore wind industry and it is offering its facilities and highly trained workforce of engineers for work in the civil nuclear sector and the off shore oil and gas sector.