Nuclear staff in £700m deal loss

Artist's Impression of the new reactor for BNFL Springfields Toshiba Westinghouse, Salwick AP1000 reactor.
Artist's Impression of the new reactor for BNFL Springfields Toshiba Westinghouse, Salwick AP1000 reactor.
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FYLDE nuclear workers have been dealt a blow after missing out on a £700m deal.

But bosses at the Springfields at Salwick have vowed to fight on after the contract to build and run two new power stations, known as the Horizon Nuclear Power project, went to a rival firm.

Hitachi of Japan beat Springfields’ owners Westinghouse to the deal and will be in charge of the power stations at Wylfa, Anglesey and Oldbury in Glocestershire.

The facilities, which could be feeding electricity into the national grid in the first half of the 2020s, are expected to generate power equivalent to up to 14 million homes over 60 years.

The Horizon venture was set up in 2009 as part of the drive to meet the UK’s carbon reduction goals, but RWE and E.ON put the business up for sale in March after Germany’s move to abandon nuclear power in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima disaster. It will see at least two Advanced Boiling Water Reactors built at each site.

Mike Graham from the Prospect union which represents the workers at Salwick said although staff had high hopes, there was no real threat to the 1,000 jobs on site because of the decision.

He added: “The feeling is very disappointed, we had put a lot of work into the bid.

“We must focus on the future. There is no reason why the fuel for these reactors could not be made on a new production line here.

“I would hate to see it made abroad. We have the skilled workforce and know-how here and we will be working towards that aim.”

He said although Springfields does not make the fuel for the two reactors at present, the fact it will take at least two years for Hitachi to get its design authorised in the UK gave Westinghouse a chance to bid for the fuel contract.

Fylde MP Mark Menzies said he would be talking to energy minister John Hayes to put the case for having Springfields make the fuel for the new reactors.

He added: “It is many years down the line yet so there’s no reason why it could not be made here.”

A spokesman for Westinghouse said: “Springfields Fuels Limited is naturally disappointed the reactors now planned to be built at Wylfa and Oldbury will not have their fuel manufactured in the UK at Springfields.

“Although this will impact on our long-term business plan, production of AP1,000 fuel for UK reactors was not planned to start before 2020.

“It remains our intention that we would supply fuel from the Springfields Site for any AP1,000 nuclear reactors which may be built in the UK or elsewhere in Europe.

“We have a healthy order book for our products and services in the short to medium term.”

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