EPSRC Prosperity Partnerships - University of Strathclyde and Babcock

Supplementary content information

A short video on the new Prosperity Partnership project between the University of Strathclyde and Babcock.

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Professor Stephen McArthur - University of Strathclyde (SM):

I’m Stephen McArthur and I am a professor at the University of Strathclyde and we are teaming up with Babcock International to extend the life of nuclear reactors around the world.

Jon Hall - Babcock International (JH):

We are at Heysham Power Station, one of the advanced gas reactor fleet core to EDF generation of power in the UK and the site where Babcock has a key role of looking after the fuel route and the fuelling of machines on this site.

SM: It’s critically important that we extend the life of these power plants, here and internationally, to allow us to move towards a low carbon energy system. To extend the life of them, there’s a range of problems we need to address and look after everything on site, from the rotating plant, the nuclear plant, the electrical plant and the concrete assessing self.  So there are three key areas of innovation that we are focusing on.

(JH): One is to do with using data and analytics better to understand the performance of the equipment and how it could be improved.  The second is to do with advanced inspection techniques and how we can innovate and inspect the machinery and the equipment more effectively.  And the third, which is an interesting bridge between engineering and biochemistry, looks a bit to the future and different kinds of coatings and materials that might be used, such that things like nuclear facilities can be more easily maintained over their life.

(SM): In the partnership the university’s role is to undertake the low level research, the really advanced concepts around inspection, around repair of concrete, around data analytics and to turn those into solutions that are ready for industry to pick up and turn into products and services.  So by working closely we can start to translate university research and concepts into industry needs and industry value and by working in partnership that’s a perfect way to translate the research into impact. 

(JH): This prosperity partnership does two things for us.  One, it builds on the platform of good collaboration that we already have over many years with EDF and with Strathclyde University and, secondly, it brings in another industry and academic partners from around the world and that includes Bruce Power and Kinetrics in Canada and the Weir Group, which is a global company, as well as BAM Nuttall in the UK and certainly at Babcock our aspiration is to take our UK capabilities to customers worldwide.

Still, the nuclear power stations in the UK form the backbone of UK generation, they are here happily for many more years and getting the efficiency and use out of them over that time is important as other forms of generation come online.

(SM): We believe that within two to three years we will have a range of technologies coming out of the university research that will be ready to be productised and packaged into solutions that will help extend the life of nuclear power plants around the world and take international economies in the direction they want in terms of low carbon energy.