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French Ambassador visits the South West Nuclear Hub

Front: Professor Hugh Brady and Professor Xavier Kerstelin, Arts et Metiers Vice-President for Education. Back: Mr Jean-Pierre Jouyet, French Ambassador to the UK and Mme Josette Lebrat, Honorary French Consul for Bristol and Bath Bhagesh Sachania

1 June 2018

The French Ambassador to the UK, Jean-Pierre Jouyet, visited the South West Nuclear Hub recently for the signing of a strategic partnership agreement between the University of Bristol and the École Nationale Supérieure d'Arts et Métiers (Arts et Métiers).

Arts et Métiers is one of the premier engineering schools in France, with a base of nuclear specialists adjacent to the French national nuclear energy research agencythe Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives (CEA), located in Aix-en-Provence.

The alliance with Bristol enables international exchange both of students and of expertise, which enhances the nuclear skills offering at both institutions, including the SW Nuclear Hub’s Nuclear Science and Engineering MSc.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Hugh Brady met with representatives from Arts et Métiers in the University’s David Smith Building to sign the strategic partnership agreement.

A technical workshop on nuclear materials was also held, in which leading experts from Arts et Métiers and the Faculties of Science and Engineering at the University discussed opportunities for collaboration.

Professor David Knowles, Co-Director of the South West Nuclear Hub, said: “This new partnership with such a respected nuclear skills and research institution in France substantially enhances our highly productive Franco-British collaboration on nuclear energy research, innovation and skills.

“Together with the framework agreement we recently signed with EDF Group at their R&D headquarters in Saclay, and the partnership we formed with the Institut National de Physique de Grenoble (INP), this alliance strengthens the potential impact our two institutions can make on the global nuclear research and skills challenges.”

Professor Brady said: “Partnerships such as this – international, strategic and focused on the great challenges of our age – are crucial to the mission of our University. We look forward to working with Arts et Métiers and helping to shape the future of research and training in nuclear energy.”

Professor Xavier Kestelyn, Vice President for Education at Arts et Métiers, was also very enthusiastic about the opportunities this strategic partnership presents. He said: “This strategic partnership fits totally with Arts et Métier’s international strategy. Arts et Métiers, founder member of the French Industry of the Future Alliance, seeks to develop strategic partnerships with a limited number of institutions around the world in academic, research and innovation to accompany European industry in the challenges they face in the industry of the future.”

During his visit, Ambassador Jouyet also addressed members of the French community from Bristol and Bath in the setting of the University’s Life Sciences Building. Here he spoke about the need for collaboration between the UK and France, particularly in the area of education and research, in light of the challenges Brexit poses.

Mr Jouyet was given a tour of the University’s nuclear teaching and research department, where he was able to experience the seismic qualification facilities within the Earthquake and Geotechnical Engineering research group which is being used to support integrity qualification for the graphite core of the UK’s existing fleet of Advanced Gas-cooled Reactors. 

The French Ambassador continued his exploration of the South West with a visit to the nuclear power station construction site at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

Further information

École Nationale Supérieure d'Arts et Métiers (ENSAM)

Arts et Métiers is a very prestigious 'Grande École' in France that specialises in Engineering and Technology, but also in the field of nuclear. It has established links with the EDF group, the Institut National des Sciences et Techniques Nucléaires (INSTN) and the Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives (CEA).

The South West Nuclear Hub

The South West Nuclear Hub provides a focus for nuclear innovation, research and teaching in the south west of the UK. The Hub incorporates the existing collaboration between the Universities of Bristol and Oxford, the Nuclear Research Centre (NRC).

With a dedicated building, opened in summer 2016 at the University of Bristol, the Hub has introduced a step-change across higher education in the region to accelerate and grow nuclear research and teaching activities. The Hub provides a common location for academia, industry and government to come together to meet the opportunities and challenges facing nuclear energy in the UK.

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