Engineer to chase decommissioning work in eastern Europe and new-build in China

engineer Halcrow is expanding its nuclear capacity in an attempt to obtain work outside the UK.

The firm, which in July launched a nuclear division in anticipation of increased work in the UK, says it aims to have 300 dedicated nuclear staff by 2009. It is also in talks about alliances in Britain and abroad.

The engineer has never worked on nuclear projects outside Britain, but is now chasing decommissioning work in eastern Europe and is understood to be interested in new-build in China. This will allow it to hone its nuclear expertise ahead of a UK new-build programme.

Colin Robertson, Halcrow’s nuclear executive director, said: “We’re expanding the business substantially in response to market demand. In order to provide added value to our customers we will work in alliances and other partnering arrangements where this is appropriate."

Robertson also confirmed that the engineer had held talks with nuclear contractors in relation to the UK new-build programme.

This is the latest move among firms in the nuclear sector in the wake of the government’s energy review in July. Management services firm Serco announced last week that it had formed a consortium with Bechtel and nuclear specialist BWXT, to bid for UK nuclear work, primarily in the decommissioning sector.

Meanwhile, it emerged that Halcrow will plan the transport strategy for Glasgow’s bid to host the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

Malcolm Wicks, the energy minister, is to hand over control of energy to Alistair Darling, the DTI secretary. This means there will no longer be a dedicated energy minister but the portfolio will be raised to Cabinet level.