Hitachi, Ltd. will establish a new R&D base in the UK—the European Nuclear Research Centre (ENRC)—by the end of September 2014. The Centre will have the aim of facilitating the development of safe and efficient nuclear power technologies based on advanced plant maintenance technology and proven decommissioning techniques in Europe, as part of Hitachi’s plan to expand its overseas nuclear power business.
The nuclear power industry in the UK has a long history which dates back to the beginning of commercial operation of the Calder Hall Nuclear Power Station in 1956. Currently, the research and development that has underpinned the industry has mainly been conducted at universities, and is particularly strong in basic research fields such as materials and analytical measurement, as well as decommissioning techniques, including the disposal of waste, since there is a large number of aging nuclear power facilities in the UK.
ENRC will be conducting joint research with UK and European universities to bring together the leading technologies developed in Europe and Hitachi’s BWR (boiling water reactor) technology, to develop safer and more efficient nuclear power technologies, including technology to reduce the level of radiation exposure to plant personnel, and technology to raise plant utilization.
Further, through such activities, Hitachi aims to train local technical staff in Hitachi’s BWR technology. ENRC will also be undertaking R&D for medium to long-term issues such as reducing the volume of waste and lowering the cost of decommissioning.
Hitachi has joined the Research Centre in Non-Destructive Evaluation (RCNDE), a research consortium composed of six UK universities as well as leading manufacturers and other organizations, on the 1st of April, ahead of the establishment of ENRC.
Hitachi will be bringing together advanced European technologies and its own nuclear power technologies, as it proceeds with the global deployment of highly reliable and efficient nuclear power plants. Hitachi will also work actively towards resolving medium to long-term issues such as the decommissioning of reactors in Japan.