Laing O’Rourke, Costain and Arup benefit from £31m funding boost for research projects

Contractors Laing O’Rourke and Contain and engineer Arup are among the firms to benefit from government backed £31m of funding for nuclear energy research projects.

The announcement came as the government unveiled its industrial strategy for the sector.

The government-backed fund will pay for 35 projects across the UK developing new technologies for the construction, operation and decommissions of nuclear power plants.

Laing O’Rourke is working with Arup, the Building Research Establishment (BRE), and Imperial College on a £2m project to optimise the design and manufacture and assembly of prefabricated nuclear plants. The project will receive £1m from the research fund.

Costain will receive £858,800 towards its £1.7m project to develop lower cost way of treating nuclear waste. The firm is working with plasma arc system specialist Tetronics on the scheme.

Across all 35 projects there will be £18m of funding from Technology Strategy Board, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), which the government expects will leverage a further £13m of private investment into the initiative.

Business secretary Vince Cable said the UK was “well placed” to take advantage of global opportunities in the nuclear industry.

He said: “Our strong research base will help develop exciting new technologies that can be commercialised here and then exported across the globe.”

Meanwhile, the government unveiled its Nuclear Industrial Strategy. In the strategy it restated its pledge to see 16GW of new nuclear capacity built in the UK by 2030 and said it remained committed to investing in skills and research to build the UK’s capability in the sector.