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RMJM in battle to take Sizewell project forward

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Original architect RMJM may miss out on further development of the Sizewell nuclear plant after French energy company EDF launched a search for a new lead architect on the scheme.

The project was one of several key nuclear jobs that RMJM inherited following the aquisition of YRM in December last year (AJ 23.12.11).

Although the 67-year-old practice had struggled to find work, YRM kept hold of its nuclear portfolio, including the prize contract to masterplan and design new buildings for the Sizewell C reactor in Suffolk (AJ 11.03.10). It also had the £10 billion Hinkley Point C nuclear reactor scheme on its books when it was bought out.

However, it is understood French energy giant EDF has begun hunting for a new design team to take forward the Sizewell plans and has invited a number of practices to bid.

RMJM is among them and has ‘submitted [a] capability statement for the next phase of work on Sizewell C’.

An EDF spokesperson said: ‘We undertook research on suitably qualified firms and are now going through a pre-qualification process as part of the tendering exercise.’

As for Hinkley, he added: ‘A contract is being finalised for RMJM to cover any support required during the planning inspectorate’s determination of our Hinkley Point C application.’

It is unclear what will happen after the planning inquiry.

A spokesman for RMJM said: ‘We are delighted to be continuing a long relationship with EDF and stand ready to support them and these important projects as required.’

‘YRM prepared a draft masterplan for Sizewell C in 2010 under an appointment from the French subsidiary of EDF, CNEN.

‘Since YRM joined RMJM in December 2011 RMJM has become an accredited vendor to NNB Genco (EDF Energy) which is EDF’s UK company for nuclear new build.

He added: ‘At EDF Energy’s invitation we have recently submitted our capability statement for the next phase of work on Sizewell C which will be commissioned by EDF Energy.

In recent weeks, RMJM has lost a number of high-profile designers, including long-serving architects Tony Kettle and Colin Bone.

Last month the global practice also parted ways with its PR agency, the BIG Partnership.

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