Highly-skilled jobs will remain at a Lancashire nuclear fuel factory for at least the next 60 years, according to an industry leader.
Mike Tynan, chief executive of Westinghouse UK, said its Springfields Fuels facility at Salwick, near Preston, would continue to build fuel for the country’s power stations for the next decade as it bids to secure a deal to build part of the new fleet of reactors.
He said he was “extremely confident” Westinghouse would build its AP1000 reactor in the UK with a site close to Sellafield in Cumbria the most likely location for the next development.
The boss, whose business has its head office at Matrix Park on Buckshaw Village, near Leyland, said the company remained committed to the facility which employs hundreds of workers.
He said: “Springfields has been making the country’s nuclear fuel for 60 years and I am confident it will continue to do so for the next 60 years.
“When the economy recovers such that it becomes easier for investors to secure finance for major infrastructure projects, the opportunities for nuclear new build and the chance to maintain and service these reactors will open up.
“Whatever decisions we make at the moment, we have to think long-term, 15 to 20 years from now.”
Westinghouse is also looking to build to build the AP1000 in Europe, with opportunities in the Czech Republic and Poland, and in the Middle East.
The company has confirmed any fuel for reactors in the UK, Europe and the Middle East could be built at Springfields.
Mr Tynan said NuGen, the European consortium which has an option to build a reactor the Moorside site, next to Sellafield, had backed Westinghouse’s bid to secure the green light from regulators for the AP1000 through the Generic Design Assessment process.
He said: “We have a long-term relationship with GDF and Iberdrola (the utility giants which own the NuGen consortium) and we would very much welcome our involvement at Moorside.
The chief executive added there had been no discussions around developing the sites at Heysham, near Morecambe, Bradwell in Essex and Hartlepool in County Durham, which are earmarked for new reactors.