26 February 2008 – Ultra Electronics has begun talks with British Energy to secure a potentially lucrative foothold in the civil nuclear energy market, according to the FT.
The company provides control systems to Rolls-Royce for the UK’s nuclear-powered submarines and believes there is an opportunity to develop similar systems for the civil market, according to Douglas Caster, chief executive. “We would be looking to position ourselves initially with British Energy on the life extension [of existing nuclear reactors],” said Mr Caster.
Longer-term, the company hopes to provide reactor control systems for a new generation of nuclear power stations. The government’s decision in January to back new nuclear plants has renewed interest from companies keen to be involved.
Meanwhile, the UK has accepted an invitation to join the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP).
Business and Enterprise secretary John Hutton, who will sign the agreement during a two-day visit to Washington DC, will also meet with US energy companies to discuss potential investment in new nuclear build in the UK.
The UK is the twenty-first country to join the international partnership, which promotes responsible nuclear development while reducing volumes of waste and the risk of nuclear proliferation.
GNEP also enables the UK and other developed countries to share experience on a wide range of issues, such as infrastructure assessments, security and safety requirements, which will help developing countries identify whether nuclear power generation is suitable for them and how to proceed with its implementation.