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  • There are concerns over the future of the UK’s nuclear energy industry after the government announced its plans to leave the European Atomic Power Treaty, or Euratom, as part of Brexit. The UK will formally leave in 2019, and this could mean that some of Britain’s nuclear power stations could face closure if alternatives safeguards aren’t put in place.

    The warning comes from Rupert Cowen of Prospect Law, who was appearing before the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee along with other key representatives from the nuclear industry.

    The UK will be on course to leave Euratom when it signs article 50 in March. Cowen warned that this could cause significant problems for research and development. However, if it also leaves the UK unable to comply with international safeguards, then as explained in the Guardian, nuclear trade would need to be discontinued and nuclear power stations could face possible closure.

    Decision to leave Euratom

    Brexit Secretary David Davis first confirmed the UK would be leaving Euratom in announcement earlier in 2017. The decision shocked researchers and scientists, and it has left a question mark over the future of projects like the Joint European Torus (JET) project and the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor.

    However, in a statement regarding the future of the JET project, Professor Donné, EUROfusion programme manager, has pledged the team will do all they can to continue working together and extend the work until at least 2020.

    Professor Donné added:

    “We also will do our best to find smooth and adequate solutions for the people that are affected by the UK withdrawing from Euratom.”

    UK Government’s commitment to Nuclear Energy

    Despite the UK’s decision to exit from Euratom, Secretary of State for International Trade, Dr Liam Fox, has been keen to voice the government’s commitment to nuclear energy. Speaking at the recent Civil Nuclear Showcase 2017, Dr Fox stated that the UK’s withdrawal from Euratom will in no way diminish the country’s nuclear ambitions.

    Prime Minister Theresa May recently gave the go ahead for the Hinkley C power plant, which is being built in collaboration with China, and there are plans for more nuclear power plants in the UK.

    By the mid-2020s there will be up to 16 gigawatts of new nuclear energy coming online, according to Nuclear AMRC. Companies currently exploring nuclear energy in the UK include Areva and Hitachi GE. 

  • CPC-Cryolab produces state-of-the-art cryogenic valves and other advanced technology to the aerospace and industrial gas industries. Industrial gas producers such as Air Products and Chemicals, Praxair, Linde (BOC) and Air Liquide have all specified CPC valves to satisfy exacting materials and safety requirements. In addition, CPC was the primary valve supplier to the Super-Conducting Super-Collider (SSC) project for both magnet cooling and liquefier production.

    CPC has designed and manufactured valves, filters, manifolds and fill hoses for the space shuttle controlling the liquid oxygen and hydrogen used for engine fuel, breathing gas, and fuel cell power generation.


    CPC-Cryolab - Products  Vacuum Jacketed Valves  Extended Stem Valves  Extended Bonnet Valves  Bellow Seal Valves  Gas Valves  Actuators  Pressure Relief Discs  Cryogenic Connections.mht

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  • The future is looking bright for the valve industry, according to the latest industry analysis and forecasts. Demand is growing in the food and drinks, pharmaceuticals, chemical and power generation industries, and this need is expected to remain strong into the foreseeable future, a report by Reportlinker indicates.

    Earlier reports had suggested that the control valve market will be worth more than $10 billion by 2020, and although Europe is expected to be among the areas performing well, the strongest growth is likely to be in the Asian-pacific markets, according to the Oil & Gas, Chemicals, Energy & Power, Water Management, Pharmaceuticals, Food & Beverages global forecasts.

    Growing interest in Expos

    The strong growth in the industry is reflected in the popularity of the expos that are held around the world in various venues. One of the most recent, the Valve World Expo in Dusseldorf, which was held in Mid-December 2016, attracted more than 12,000 trade visitors and over 700 exhibitors.

    The organisers have noted that the event has gone from strength to strength over the years, and it now attracts visitors from more than 80 countries around the world. The next event is scheduled for Dusseldorf in 2018, and a U.S. show is due to be held in July 2017.

    Chemical and pharmaceutical industry performing well

    Other sectors that are currently performing well are the chemical and pharmaceutical sectors in the UK. There had been concerns about these industries following the Brexit vote, but they have remained resilient, with exports and sales volumes increasing, and the pharmaceutical industry in particular is giving manufacturing a boost.

    The Chemical Industries Association predicted that despite the challenges facing the industry, such as a squeeze on price margins, companies in this sector are still expecting to invest in research and development, and it is likely there will be ‘strong growth’ in capital expenditure.

    Commenting on the more immediate future, Chief Executive of Chemical Industries Association, Steve Elliot, said:

    “Our sector continues to face challenges, including the uncertainty of Brexit, but chemical and pharmaceutical businesses are focussed on meeting customer needs and seizing opportunities all over the world and this latest survey suggests we are in good shape for the year ahead”. 

    However, despite the positive signs, Elliot is calling for the Chancellor Philip Hammond to use the spring budget as an opportunity to give a ‘confidence boost’ to manufacturing and to introduce reforms that will ‘further strengthen the backbone of UK industry’.

  • Manufacturing grew in September, according to the latest statistics from the Office of National Statistics. The pharmaceutical sector showed a strong performance, but the gas and oil sectors unperformed, causing an 0.4 per cent drop in total industrial production, the BBC reports.

    Moreover, there were further challenges for the manufacturing sector in September in the form of inflation, leading to a rise in prices for materials and the cost of fuels.  Manufacturers have also had to contend with the low value of the pound, which has made imports more expensive, but sterling is now on the rise.

    Manufacturers adjusting spending plans

    The immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote has not had the impact on the manufacturing sector that many had feared. However, manufacturers are adjusting their investment plans following the referendum result, according to research from the EEF.

    The EEF/Santander Monitor 2016 report indicates that manufacturing firms will slow down their investment into capital equipment for the near future. 60 per cent of the manufacturers surveyed stated they will be spending either the same or less on equipment in the next two years.

    Lee Hopley, Chief Economist at the EEF said:                    

    “Fears of an immediate collapse in business investment appear to be unfounded for now. UK manufacturers have been investing at a healthy pace in recent years and while that rate of increase wasn’t going to continue forever, keeping up with customer needs and the competition is ensuring that investment stays on track for many.

    EEF attribute this slowdown in spending to order book uncertainty. In addition, some manufacturers are already faced with ‘soft demand’, with a third of manufactures already having spare capacity, meaning they are reluctant to invest in equipment that could go under used.

    The EEF also stressed the need for policies that would assist the manufacturing industry. Ms Hopley stated:

    “…It’s over to the Autumn statement now to press ahead with policies that further enhance the UK business environment for spending on modern machinery and increasingly important intangible investment.”

    Change in investment strategy

    Manufacturers are also changing the way they invest. EEF say manufacturers would rather invest in innovation to help them stand out from the competition, allowing them to enhance productivity and to improve future demand for their products. 60 per cent of manufacturers say that investing in ‘intangibles’ rather than equipment is now more important to their businesses.

    Despite the concerns prior to the referendum, the report shows that Brexit has had little impact on the manufacturing sector’s plans for future investment. There is also more optimism over exports due the fall in the value of pound.

  • Businesses of all sizes are often accused of not doing enough to invest in energy efficiency, however, a new survey from British Gas Energy reveals some of the reasons behind this. Among the biggest concerns were political and regulatory uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the recent election and the potential implications for energy technology investment.

    The opinions were gathered at the Energy Live Future conference in the first week of June. The large organizations present commented on the need to reduce energy costs, but also stressed the problems of convincing company bosses/team leaders to make the necessary investments.

    However, despite these challenges, Gab Barbaro, Managing Director of British Gas Business, has urged business owners to be more proactive when it comes to energy use, saying:

    “My challenge to business leaders is to get smart and be more proactive about their energy use. Businesses must think long-term rather than be swayed by current political or economic uncertainty - there are countless opportunities for organisations to save money on their bills today, by getting to grips with how it’s being used and acting where it’s being wasted.”

    Other barriers to energy efficiency

    Another barrier to the adoption of the latest energy technologies, like smart meters, is that business owners often lack a basic understanding of them, and their advantages.

    And another issue is worries over cyberattacks. Two thirds of companies interviewed by PWC are concerned that the data stored by utility companies from smart meters could be compromised, and these reservations are costing businesses money.

    The increasing cost of energy

    Rising energy bills means companies can spend twice as much on their energy bills, according to the Carbon Trust.

    Although the Carbon Trust’s figures were taken from 2014, spiralling energy costs continue to put a strain on businesses’ finances, and analysts are warning that the UK industry could suffer as a result.

    Cost savings from energy efficiency

    Although there is some resistance to introducing new energy technologies and trends into the workplace, UK-based businesses are being urged to embrace them due to the advantages they offer, such as cost savings.

    It’s estimated that companies that introduce energy saving measures could save up to 20 per cent on their energy costs. And specialist manufacturers who use the most energy, such as the petrochemical, food and beverages and industrial gases sectors, potentially have the most to save by adopting efficiency measures.

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