West Cumbrian firm in line to aid Japan’s nuclear quake site
Last updated at 21:04, Thursday, 24 May 2012
A West Cumbrian firm is poised to help a massive Japanese nuclear power plant get back on its feet after it was hit by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Forth Engineering, based at the Risehow Industrial Estate, Flimby, is in talks with bosses at the Fukushima plant.
The firm will be visited next month by a representative from Japan.
Fukushima suffered a series of equipment failures, nuclear meltdowns and radioactive leaks following the disaster last year.
It was the largest nuclear incident since the Chernobyl leak in Ukraine in 1986.
Bosses, who are making progress to clean up the Fukushima site, said they heard about Forth Engineering’s work from one of its suppliers.
Forth Engineering, which does work with the Sellafield nuclear site, is building a £3 million research and development facility which will create around 20 jobs.
Mark Telford, managing director, said: “This interest means a great deal to the company, not just financially and to keep work flowing but to make the company feel proud of what it’s doing and make it all feel worthwhile.
“We are a relatively small local company that deals mainly with Sellafield and has a couple of dealings with other nuclear plants.
“Everybody’s proud of the innovative equipment that we have built for Sellafield and the fact that it’s been heard of so far away.”
Mr Telford said he had been told the Russian nuclear industry may be interested in the firm and he hoped it would be the first of many possible international projects.
The new facility being built at Risehow will develop robotic technology to be used in nuclear decommissioning at Sellafield and work is nearing completion.
Mr Telford said that part of Sellafield’s decommissioning programme was to find a way to retrieve redundant equipment.
The new facility will be used to meet this challenge and will include a pond holding 6.5 million litres of water.
The space will test methods which are likely to occur in a real-life situation at Sellafield.
The firm, which was set up 12 years ago and has 25 staff, said it hoped the facility would be open by September, earlier than initially planned.
It also plans to launch an NVQ course linked to the facility in the autumn, working with Lakes College at Lillyhall and the Nuclear Skills Academy.
Building work on the project is slightly behind schedule and over budget because of issues with ground conditions, Mr Telford said, but the time between completion of the building and it being brought into use has been cut.
First published at 19:22, Thursday, 24 May 2012
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
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