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Oxford-Bristol South West Nuclear Hub meet French Ambassador to the UK

Her Excellency the French Ambassador to the UK, Mme Sylvie-Agnes Bermann, and Mr Vincent de Rivaz CBE, EDF Energy CEO

3 May 2017

The French Ambassador to the UK, Her Excellency Mme Sylvie-Agnes Bermann, visited the Hinkley Point C site in April, alongside a Franco-British delegation including Mr Vincent de Rivaz CBE, CEO of EDF Energy.

The South West Nuclear Hub was invited to present its activities on the day, a testament to the uniqueness of the relationship between the University of Bristol and EDF Energy. Professors Tom Scott, David Knowles and Peter Flewitt were given the opportunity to showcase the impact of the Hub’s activities, regionally, nationally and internationally.

Led by Mme Bermann and Mr de Rivaz, the delegation on the day comprised Cyril Pinel, Counselor for Nuclear Energy at the French Embassy; senior representatives of the Franco-British business community; Dale Edwards, CEO of the Somerset Chamber of Commerce; and other prominent stakeholders in the field.

The Hub is to date the only UK-based academic set-up to have established relationships with French engineering schools, taking advantage of the complementarity of British and French approaches to research. New nuclear-related, EU-funded programmes of work have been awarded to consortiums involving Bristol academics as recently as March 2017.

Working in close collaboration with EDF Energy and the EDF Group, and having done so for the last twenty years through Bristol's Faculties of Engineering and Science, the Hub prides itself on having an open-door policy, so that academia, industry, government and supply chain representatives can work alongside each other towards meeting the following objectives:

  • addressing the shortage of skilled nuclear engineers and scientists, hence contributing to close the skills gap the UK is facing in the next 5 to 10 years;
  • delivering world-class research, addressing the industry’s requirements relating to new build, decommissioning, future plants and existing nuclear, with a particular emphasis on safety;
  • engaging with the public on nuclear activities and clean energy;
  • stimulating industry to respond to demand;
  • addressing the existing barriers to market;
  • delivering innovative technologies, of use to industry and the wider nuclear community.

Professor Tom Scott, SW Nuclear Hub’s director, said: 'The work on Hinkley point C has now started. This incredible project presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to develop and enhance our regional skills pool and to perform world-class research, impacting locally and internationally within the nuclear sector. The South West Nuclear Hub is contributing to both of these strands, and we are immensely proud to be one of EDF Energy’s preferred partners. There are probably very few industrial sectors where European and international collaborations are as important as in the nuclear sector.'

David Eccles, EDF Energy’s Head of Community Engagement for Hinkley Point C said: 'We are delighted that Her Excellency Mme Sylvie-Agnes Berman visited the region, and Hinkley Point C. The relationship between the Hub and EDF Energy is special, and an incredible reflection of the Franco-British collaboration we see, more than ever, in this field.'

Further information

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, known as the Nuclear Research Centre (NRC).

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

Within the Hub, the NRC continues to pursue collaborative research opportunities in the UK and internationally. New and existing industrial partners are committing support for the Centre’s long-term research vision by establishing strategic relationships.

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