Lancashire nuclear workers have been given a major boost after a £100 million power station deal was signed – safeguarding posts and potentially creating 21,000 new jobs in the North West.
Japanese engineering and technology firm Toshiba has signed an agreement to buy 60 per cent of NuGen, the UK-based group that plans to build three new nuclear reactors next to the Sellafield site in west Cumbria.
The remaining 40 per cent of NuGen remains with European energy business GDF Suez.
Any fuel for the reactors will be made by Westinghouse at Springfields near Preston.
A Springfields spokesman said: “Today’s announcement is welcome news for Springfields as fuel for the new reactors to be built at Moorside will be manufactured at Springfields.
“Although the first reactor is not due to be operational until 2024, the deal will help to safeguard hundreds of future jobs on site.”
Around 1,200 workers are employed at Westinghouse’s Springfields site.
Toshiba’s investment could safeguard around 600 jobs which would otherwise be at risk as the older Advanced Gas-Cooled Reactors close. The Moorside project will create up to 21,000 jobs and will generate 3.4 gigawatts of energy, which is enough to power six million homes, equivalent to seven per cent of the UK’s electricity requirement.
The deal represents the completion of an agreement in January when Toshiba agreed in principle to buy a majority stake.
Westinghouse President and CEO Danny Roderick said: “Westinghouse is delighted that Europe’s largest AP1000 nuclear plant project to date will be constructed in the UK, which already is home to one of our largest global operations.
“The local economy will reap many benefits as a result of this project, including calling upon the local supply chain, and creating thousands of skilled jobs.”
NuGen CEO Sandy Rupprecht said: “Moorside is the most exciting new nuclear build project in Europe. We will be taking forward our project in West Cumbria, the UK’s nuclear heartland – and we expect the national and regional economies to benefit extensively.”