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Grimshaw takes £10 billion Sizewell nuclear power work off RMJM’s toes

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Grimshaw has landed the contract to design a new £10 billion nuclear power station at Sizewell, in Suffolk

The appointment, which will see the practice work alongside Canaway Fleming Architects, will come as a blow to RMJM – the original architect on the project.

The scheme was one of several key nuclear jobs that RMJM inherited following the acquisition of YRM in December last year. Despite financial problems, the now defunct practice had 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).  In late 2010 YRM director John Clemow told the AJ that the firm’s work at Sizewell and Hinkley, to which new parent company RMJM remains appointed, would last ‘for this decade at least’.

However, in May French energy giant EDF began hunting for a new design team to take forward the Sizewell plans and invited a number of practices to bid. RMJM confirmed it was among them and told the AJ it had submitted its ‘capability statement for the next phase of work on Sizewell C’.

But this week it emerged that Grimshaw had won the bundle of work covering the main power station site, while Canaway Fleming had bagged the ‘associated development’ package of design work.

RMJM refused to comment on Grimshaw’s appointment.

Sizewell C, which will have two reactors, each expected to cost £5-7 billion to build, will supply enough electricity to power five million homes. An EDF spokesman said: ‘EDF Energy plans to undertake initial consultation on Sizewell C by the end of this year.’

RMJM has had a challenging fortnight, having left its New York office under unusual circumstances. The practice initially issued a press release saying it ‘was delighted to announce the opening of our new office in midtown Manhattan’. But the discovery of a marshal’s legal possession document dated 22 August – effectively an eviction notice issued by the City of New York civil court – painted a rather different picture.

But RMJM group commercial director Declan Thompson insisted that the situation had been planned six months ago and would save the company $1 million.

Grimshaw statement about Sizewell

We are delighted to have been appointed by EDF Energy to provide architectural services for the proposed new nuclear power station at Sizewell in Suffolk.

Sizewell C is of national importance, helping to achieve the UK’s commitment to tackling climate change, while also ensuring the country’s long term energy security. We believe that infrastructure of this importance should be designed to the highest quality. Grimshaw is committed to approaching this exciting and challenging project with this in mind, drawing on our experience in the design of other energy, infrastructure and masterplanning projects.

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