Nuclear design research deal may safeguard Fylde jobs

An artist's impression of a SMR power station from Westinghouse
An artist's impression of a SMR power station from Westinghouse
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The company which employs more than 1,000 nuclear industry workers on the Fylde has taken a significant step on the road to making a new style of power plant.

Westinghouse has signed a deal to work with the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Sheffield.

It mean they will collaborate on exploring the most effective way to manufacture Westinghouse Small Modular Reactor (SMR) reactor pressure vessels in the UK.

The UK has fallen behind in cutting edge nuclear design over the past decade but Westinghouse believes that by designing the SMR here it can make use of its already established UK expertise and allow the country to get back to the cutting edge of commercial nuclear power.

It said the Nuclear AMRC will provide a professional, independent assessment of the current Westinghouse Small Modular Reactor RPV design, and determine an optimal manufacturing solution.

Nuclear AMRC has extensive experience in design for the manufacture of large complex parts for safety-critical applications, drawing on broad academic and industry knowledge.

Mike Tynan, chief executive officer of the Nuclear AMRC, said: “Innovative and advanced manufacturing techniques are fundamental to the cost-effective production of UK small modular reactors.

Jeff Benjamin, Westinghouse senior vice president New Plants and Major Projects, said: “The efficient construction of Westinghouse Small Modular Reactors can play an important part of the UK’s future by creating local manufacturing jobs to develop safe, clean and economical energy.”

In 2015 Westinghouse bid to partner with the UK Government to deploy its small modular reactor technology – a move that would advance the UK from buyer to global provider of the latest nuclear energy technology.

Westinghouse’s Springfields facility at Salwick, a strategic national asset, recently achieved the requirements necessary to manufacture Westinghouse Small Modular Reactor (SMR) fuel in the UK, something that no other SMR technology provider currently offers. It would safeguard jobs for decades to come.