Hundreds of Fylde jobs have been secured for decades to come after an energy giant confirmed it will be part of a plan to build three new nuclear reactors in the North West.
Westinghouse, which operates the Springfields nuclear fuel plant at Salwick, and which is part of the Toshiba group, is to build three AP 1000 power stations with the NuGen group at Moorside, Sellafield.
The pressurised water reactors use fuel which will be made at Salwick and the plant will also make AP 1000 fuel for other reactors across Europe, such as recently announced in Bulgaria.
Springfields, which employs 1,200 people, has previously made fuel for the UK’s gas-cooled power stations which are coming to the end of their useful lives.
This new opportunity will safeguard 600 production jobs and will bolster its position as a major UK nuclear research facility.
Parent company Toshiba is to buy a £102m – 60 per cent stake – in NuGen from GDF SUEZ of France and Iberdrola of Spain.
A company statement said: “The agreement provides that three Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear reactors with a combined capacity of 3.4 GW will be built on the site.
“The first unit is expected to be online by 2024, helping to support the UK government’s low carbon and energy security objectives at a time when existing power plants are retiring and low-carbon generation is required to meet international commitments.”
When fully operational, the Moorside site is expected to deliver seven per cent of the UK’s electricity.
Simon Marshall, Westinghouse’s UK business and production development director said: “This is great news for the company, the UK and for Springfields too.
“It will safeguard the 600 jobs in the nuclear fuel production and any new fuel for any European AP 1000 reactors will be produced at Salwick.
“These reactors will be numbers 17, 18 and 19 that we have built so it is tried and tested technology.”
The firm is also developing a service business based in the North West to support reactors.
Fylde MP Mark Menzies said: “I am delighted. I have hosted meetings between Westinghouse, the unions and two energy ministers during my time as a MP.
“I did this because I felt that at every stage of this process it was important to continually reiterate the importance of keeping nuclear fuel manufacturing in Fylde.