Rolls-Royce wins multi-billion-dollar Canadian contract

Rolls-Royce wins multi-billion-dollar Canadian contract

Iconic British firm Rolls-Royce is taking a leading role in a nuclear decommissioning contract in Canada worth billions of dollars.

Now industry insiders believe the company may be set for a similar bid for lucrative business in the UK.

Canadian deal

The huge Canadian contract revolves around a programme to detoxify Chalk River Laboratories in Ontario. The central reactor was fired up in 1957 and will be shut down three years from now.

The Canadian National Energy Alliance (CNEA) is a consortium that has succeeded in being named preferred bidder on the deal. Rolls-Royce will take part as a sub-contractor providing machines and metal parts made in its Peterborough factory.

Firms making up the CNEA are NC-Lavalin based in Montreal, CH2M Hill, owners of British engineer Halcrow, and Utah’s Energy Solutions, which has experience in the decommissioning of similar Magnox nuclear power station sites.

A Rolls-Royce spokesman said: “The competitive process is not complete until the share transfer has taken place, so it is inappropriate for us to comment at this stage. However, we can confirm that Rolls-Royce will not form part of the CNEA joint venture. Our role is as a key sub-contractor to the main joint venture contract with the Canadian government.”

UK implications

Rolls-Royce lost a bid last year to take part in the £7 billion clean-up project of Magnox sites in the UK, which includes Hunterston in Ayrshire and Dungeness in Kent.

Now industry commentators believe the Canadian deal signifies a renewed effort from Rolls-Royce to become a major player in the decommissioning business, which could have a big impact on the wider UK economy.

A nuclear engineering source said: “This is a big deal and really good news – I’m surprised the chief executive [Warren East] didn’t mention it at Rolls-Royce’s interim results. This is a significant departure from their traditional business model.”

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