Fylde nuclear plant owners say their new design would be best for UK jobs

An artist's impression of one of the small modular reactors designed by Westinghouse
An artist's impression of one of the small modular reactors designed by Westinghouse

The company which owns the nuclear fuel manufacturing site in the Fylde has said jobs, skills and technology would be protected if  it was chosen in a Government competition to design new small reactors.

Westinghouse has gone onto the front foot after rumours that the competition, launched 18 months ago but currently stalled, is set to get new impetus.

The Government is offering around £250m in development investment in a bid to make the UK a global leader in innovative nuclear technologies which it can export to make money.

Westinghouse is up against consortia led by Rolls-Royce, and US firm NuScale, but says its plans for a Small Modular Reactor would be better for the supply chain and the economy.

Mick Gornall, UK managing director for Westinghouse said: “We believe that we can deliver even greater economic benefit to the UK through our nuclear new build projects, in addition to the £100m spent annually by the company in the local economy.

"More than 85 per cent of our SMR’s design, licence and procurement scope can be delivered by the UK.

“Additionally, the fuel would also be manufactured at our Springfields facility, at Salwick – this is a special offering that only Westinghouse, with UK partners, can deliver.”

He said it would allow the UK to move from buyer to global provider of nuclear technology.

Springfields, he said, had been a strategic national asset for the country with a proud 70 year history.

It currently supplies the fuel for up to 22 per cent of the UK’s electricity and would in future make the fuel for the SMR reactors and the company’s bigger AP1000 nuclear reactors which would be used at the Moorside site near Sellafield if they get the go-ahead.

The AP1000 reactors, which would share many of the same platforms, systems, and processes as the SMRs, received an official endorsement in March this year and four of the reactors are being built in China.

He added that the factory built modules of both the AP1000 and SMR could be made in the UK supporting many more jobs.