Julian Vance-Daniel – Wales Nuclear Forum
At the end of June this year, the Welsh Government funded a Trade Mission to the World Nuclear Exhibition held in Paris. The whole event was considered by attendees to be a terrific success. The global nuclear industry gathered in the Paris Nord Villepointe centre for the largest nuclear exhibition of 2018. There were a number of key announcements made, including a cooperation agreement between Rolls-Royce and China Nuclear Power Corporation, whereby these two businesses will collaborate to develop and sell instrumentation and computer control systems for the global nuclear market.
Nuclear power remains the essential component of France’s energy mix with 58 operating plants accounting for 71% of the country’s energy production in 2017. Whilst France produces a higher proportion of its energy through nuclear plants than any other major country, the situation differs around the world. Britain is again increasing its supply of nuclear generated power through Hinkley Point C and other recent announcements, but Germany intends to phase out nuclear energy completely by 2022.
The exhibition was open for three days between 26th to 28th June and attracted over 10,000 visitors from more than 60 different countries. There were over 670 exhibitors many distributed among the 17 national pavilions. The Welsh pavilion was very highly regarded by visitors to the exhibition and truly flew the flag for Wales’ ambitions in the nuclear market. Four major opportunities were heralded – new build, within Wales and near its borders; small modular reactors; decommissioning opportunities within Wales and across the UK and planned investment in enabling infrastructure projects. In addition to the Welsh Government personnel there were 7 Welsh companies with their own stands on the Welsh pavilion:
- Acorn Recruitment
- Flamguard Calidair Limited
- Huntingdon Fusion Technologies Ltd
- Mona Lifting
- NIBS (Northern Industrial Battery Services)
- Teddington Engineered Solutions
- United Flexible (Amnitec)
All the Welsh company exhibitors and the Welsh Government officials stayed in the Hyatt Regency hotel a fairly long walk or short taxi ride from the Villepoint hall. During the evenings the delegates exchanged views and outlined the success stories of the day. There was certainly an esprit de corps among the Welsh exhibitors and all companies made significant numbers of contacts. Senior executives from the UK nuclear industry visited the pavilion and spoke to all the exhibitors; also, Department for International Trade officials from the British embassy in Paris helped to make introductions and appointments for the Welsh exhibitors. On the Wednesday of the exhibition Tony Godfrey and Nia Roberts both part of the Welsh Government team delivered a presentation on Opportunities and Markets: Working with Wales. All part of a concerted effort to demonstrate Wales ambition to very significantly increase its prominence in the nuclear industry, to showcase the very considerable strengths of the companies based in Wales, its people and its government’s commitment to growing the sector.
On Tuesday evening, the Wales pavilion hosted a reception which was extremely well attended – indeed much more successful than an alternative reception held at the nearby UK pavilion. Several hundred exhibition visitors and exhibitors stayed late into the evening to look at the Welsh stands, discuss the industry and generally network with all the contributors in the Welsh delegation.
Also, on Tuesday Yukiya Amano the International Atomic Energy Agency Director General delivered a keynote speech setting out the future growth plans for the global nuclear sector. He pointed out that there are 58 full size nuclear reactors being built around the world right now – most of these in Asia. Global installed nuclear energy is now higher than it has ever been at 394 gigawatts though nuclear electricity production is actually below 2010 levels. With the surge of growth in Asia and resurgence in the UK, United Arab Emirates, Belarus and Turkey nuclear electricity will increase its share of the world’s electricity from its current level of 11% towards 20% by 2040.