Areva plugs this as chance to get foot on global nuclear ladder

Up to 70% of manufacturing work for Britain's new fleet of nuclear power stations is up for grabs for UK companies, energy company Areva has said.

The firm, whose European pressurized water reactor is one of two reactors being evaluated by regulators for use in the UK and is expected to build at least four plants for EDF, said more than two-thirds of the available market was still open and invited British suppliers to bid.

Speaking at a conference organised to woo suppliers, Luc Oursel, the Areva president, said: “Although we shall manufacture the main heavy components ourselves, that only accounts for some 30% of total nuclear equipment by value. The available market is about 70%.

“Yes, we have current suppliers, but we need significantly more if we are to deliver our target of 30% of the global new-build programme. The UK is in the first wave of a global new-build renaissance and UK suppliers can use this opportunity to open up opportunities - to join Areva, start national and go global.”

Mike O'Brien, the energy and climate change minister, added: “Areva's plan to open the door to UK companies shows the real business opportunities of building new nuclear power stations in this country.

“We operate in a global market place and competition will be fierce so it will be up to UK businesses to step up to the plate and show they can deliver. ”

About 120 firms attended the conference in Manchester, Areva said.