Nuclear wins for Mott MacDonald

Mott MacDonald advising Dutch government on nuclear research facility - image courtesy of PALLAS.

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has appointed Mott MacDonald as a tier one contractor for civil engineering and external hazards on its newly revised technical services framework. 

The firm has also been appointed as a tier two contractor for control and instrumentation, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, human factors, internal hazards, safety cases, probabilistic safety analysis, radiological protection, radioactive waste management and decommissioning, structural integrity, protective security and cyber security.

The four-year framework, effective from November 2022, will provide ONR with the means to procure technical services and research to support its capacity, in light of growing regulatory demands. 

ONR independently regulates nuclear safety and security at 36 nuclear sites in the UK and also assesses new nuclear designs in accordance with the high level of standards for safety, security and environmental protection required in the UK.

The UK government recently announced its intention to bolster nuclear capacity to 24 gigawatts of electricity by 2050, which would include up to 50 small modular reactors. 

“The nuclear industry is going through a period of rapid change and we’re proud to be able to support ONR in its vitally important role as new nuclear facilities are brought online,” said Dr Ming Tan, technical principal, Mott MacDonald. 

“The appointment builds on our recent work providing specialist support to several new nuclear build projects at generic design assessment and site-specific stages, including UK HPR1000, the UK advanced boiling water reactor and Hinkley Point C.”

The news comes as  Mott MacDonald announced that it is also advising the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport as lenders’ technical advisor, for the construction and start-up of commercial operation of the PALLAS-reactor and Nuclear Health Centre.

Mott MacDonald said about one-third of all procedures used in modern hospitals involve the use of radiation and radioactivity, known as nuclear medicine. Demand for nuclear medicine is growing as new therapies are developed and access is increased around the world.

It added that global supply of isotopes necessary for nuclear medicine is at risk with five of the six main isotope producing reactors halting production in the next two decades.

The new PALLAS-reactor will replace the High Flux Reactor, which is located in Petten. 

The facility currently supplies around 30% of global isotope demand and is operated by the Nuclear Research and Consultancy Group (NRG). 

It will be taken out of service as soon as the PALLAS reactor has taken over isotope production. The new reactor will also be used for research, development and innovation in support of the energy transition.

NRG|PALLAS is responsible for the realisation of the PALLAS-reactor and Nuclear Health Centre and will be funded by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. A final investment decision from the Dutch government is expected to take place in the spring of 2023.

“We’re proud to be able to contribute towards such a vital project for the global healthcare sector,” said Joost Bolck, divisional director Netherlands, Mott MacDonald.

“We have an experienced team with local expertise to deliver lenders’ technical advisory services for major design-build-finance-maintain infrastructure projects as well as international technical nuclear expertise from our experts in the UK.”

Mott MacDonald is currently advising the Dutch Ministry in their role as financier of the PALLAS-programme and in their future role as shareholder. 

With the basic design of the development complete, the tendering process for a general contractor for the project is expected to begin soon. The consultancy is also assisting the Dutch Ministry with a high-level technical review of the programme, establishing governance standards and monitoring project developments, such as contracting and procurement plans.

The consultancy will continue to offer technical advice during construction, commissioning and ramp-up through to the start of the facility’s commercial operation.

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