Whitecroft Lighting goes nuclear at Hinkley Point C

15th February 2024
Paige West

UK commercial lighting manufacturer, Whitecroft Lighting, has been awarded a contract to deliver 40,000 low-energy LED lights for Hinkley Point C, Somerset's latest nuclear power station.

This achievement marks Whitecroft Lighting as the first company to receive approval for its LED lighting systems within the UK nuclear sector.

After a six-year journey of research, collaboration, and bespoke testing, the company, headquartered in Greater Manchester, has developed a distinctive LED lighting system. Despite the widespread adoption of high-quality, energy-efficient LED lighting across most UK industries, the nuclear sector has predominantly relied on traditional fluorescent lighting.

The process of getting LED technology sanctioned for use in the UK nuclear industry involved intensive collaboration with EDF. Whitecroft Lighting had to rigorously test its lighting and supporting electronics to ensure their performance in environments exposed to radiation and elevated temperatures.

Tony Male, Whitecroft Lighting’s Regional Sales Manager, Wales, and West says: “This is a landmark moment for Whitecroft UK lighting.

“No credible testing or research existed for LED lighting in these challenging environments, so Whitecroft led an accelerated testing regime that simulated years of constant exposure to radiation at varying levels in each zone.

“Whitecroft embraced this as an opportunity to be part of one of Europe’s largest infrastructure projects, break new ground for lighting, and set new standards for the UK nuclear energy industry for years to come.”

EDF's search for a UK-based lighting manufacturer capable of making LEDs work in this rigorous setting led to Whitecroft developing the perfect solution, backed by the Hinkley Point Supply Chain. Thanks to the extensive efforts of Whitecroft’s specialist R&D team, LEDs will now be used throughout Hinkley Point C and potentially in future nuclear initiatives.

The project will see around 40,000 LED fixtures installed across 90% of the Hinkley Point C site, illuminating a wide array of buildings and facilities, including critical areas like the power generation halls.

Tony Male continues: “The unique nuclear-approved LED luminaires manufactured for the project will be around 40% more energy efficient than traditional fluorescent lighting, and the 40,000 LED luminaires supplied will save around 11,200KWh each day, or the equivalent of the power needed to run around 3,000 average family sized homes.”

The investment Whitecroft Lighting has made in R&D for the Hinkley Point C project not only sets a new benchmark but also paves the way for future UK nuclear energy projects to benefit from advanced, energy-efficient lighting solutions.

Tony adds: “Some obvious potential candidates include Sizewell C in Suffolk, which will be a close copy of Hinkley Point C, and so will benefit from many of the same components.

“There will also hopefully be opportunities to collaborate with the much-talked-about ‘mini’ or ‘modular’ nuclear power stations currently being proposed as the next step in transitioning away from fossil fuel-dependent energy generation.”

Part of the Fagerhult Group, Whitecroft Lighting employs 343 people and reports an annual turnover of £55m. The company conducts all its research and development, product design, and manufacturing within its UK headquarters and an adjacent 10,000 sqm manufacturing facility.

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