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International collaboration advice from EDF

EDF Energy’s head of procurement Alan Cumming has called on UK contractors to work with international firms in order to win contracts on their new nuclear sites in the UK.

Mr Cumming said the shortlisted joint ventures for the main civils package were a good example of areas where contractors had sought international expertise when bidding for work.

The three shortlisted joint ventures are Balfour Beatty/Vinci; Laing O’Rourke/Bouygues and Costain/Sir Robert McAlpine and a preferred bidder is expected to be appointed in the first quarter of 2012 with a contract awarded in 2013.

Speaking at EDF Energy’s third national supply chain event, Mr Cumming also announced that a new online suppliers portal has been established to help the energy firm’s procurement team, primarily working out of Paris, pair main contractors with lower tier suppliers when bidding for work.

“UK companies need to see there is expertise internationally and they should take opportunities to seek out partners and work with them,” he said.

“We are already seeing good cooperation with the main civils bids. It is important to understand what we are facing here and there are more of these partnerships happening now.”

Construction at Hinkley Point C will include two EPRs; three accommodation campuses; four park and ride facilities; a temporary jetty; refurbishment and upgrade work at Combwich Wharf, a bypass west of Carrington and 11 highway improvement schemes.

The energy firm confirmed today that a Kier/Bam Nuttall joint venture has been appointed as preferred bidder for a £100m earthworks contract having previously won a site remediation deal worth around £4m with work already underway.

The energy firm says it has already let 190 contracts worth £170 million, but managing director for nuclear new build Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson said productivity in UK construction needed to increase.

“There is a productivity problem here. The construction industry in the UK is less productive than many of its global and European peers, but the potential is here,” he said.

“We want Hinkley Point C to be a catalyst for a step-change in the industry through best-in-class health and safety, consistency and fair treatment for all. We are implementing competitive pay structures, highly-trained workforce and recognising the role that unions will have to play.

“In return we expect everyone employed on-site to be engaged in completing their taks to the best possible quality.”

EDF confirmed they will consult on initial proposals for the new reactor at Sizewell in 2012, are going through PQQ stages for M&E work and are working with three shortlisted teams for the main civils package, worth in excess of £1bn.

Mr Cumming said the energy firm will work with tier one contractors to introduce them to supply chain members through the establishment of a new register online.

“Those who have already registered on the pre-portal will have to re-register on the new site so that we can understand who you are and how we can engage with you,” he said.

EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point C construction director Nigel Cann said health and safety and environment standards from the 2012 Olympics would be implemented for the construction programme with full details to be revealed ealry next year.

“We will seek out things that have not gone well [on the Olympics] and encourage people working on site to speak up if things are not going well to prevent big issues at the site. We have seen excellent practise fo far from Kier, Bam Nuttall and Hydrock with the work on -site.”

Areva UK president Alain-Pierre Raynaud dismissed concerns over the company’s ability to work on new nuclear following news today that it will report an operating loss of up to €1.6bn (£1.35bn) this year.

Mr Raynaud said the firm had a lack of preparation in its work in Finland, where the Olkiluoto 3 facility has faced spiralling costs and time delays, which it spent years trying to recover, but pointed to its recent projects in Taishan 1&2 in China as proof lessons head been learned as they were on time and on budget.

To register for EDF Energy’s new online supplier portal, click here.