Minister's commitment to new nuclear power follows Lancashire workers' lobby at Parliament.

The energy minister has pledged new nuclear power schemes to a Lancashire MP following a lobby at Westminster from staff at the Springfields nuclear fuel plant at Salwick.

By Tim Gavell
Friday, 17th September 2021, 4:55 am
Updated Friday, 17th September 2021, 9:36 am

Fylde MP Mark Menzies questioned the minister about speeding up plans to build new nuclear power stations to preserve skilled jobs.

It comes as the UK’s fleet of ageing reactors continue to go out of service and only one major replacement project is under way.

Energy Minister Amanda Solloway replied: “It is vital we maintain our sovereign fuel manufacturing capability. The UK is a world leader in the nuclear fuel cycle which is testament to the highly-skilled workforce at Springfields.

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Fylde MP Mark Menzies and staff from Westinghouse's Springfields nuclear fuel manufacturing plant at Salwick

“Maintaining that skilled workforce is critical to our Net Zero ambitions.”

The minister said she was aware of the short-term issues with the forthcoming fall in demand for nuclear fuel domestically, but added that it was soon to be an ‘exciting time’ for the nuclear industry.

She added: “Nuclear has an important role to play in decarbonising our electricity production ... and we will bring forward legislation in this Parliament to create more nuclear power in this country.”

She detailed the £385m funding to look into new small modular and advanced modular reactors, and the further £46m for an advanced fuel cycle project specifically at Springfields.

The Springfields site

Ms Solloway added: “The Government recognises the importance of maintaining a strong skills base in the UK and we have been working with Westinghouse and the National Nuclear Laboratory to support that workforce.

“Further Government support is under review as part of the Spending Review and meetings will continue this month with Westinghouse.”

Mr Menzies said: “I’d like to thank the minister for a very thoughtful reply.

“There are many audiences listening today to what is being said; investors looking to potentially invest in the UK will take heart from what she has said.

The workforce have heard a clear commitment from Government to secure a future for Springfields and to invest in the next generation of nuclear reactors which will be fuelled in the UK.”

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