Business Secretary Lord Mandelson today announced the offer of an £80 million loan, to Sheffield Forgemasters, as part of a strategic intervention to develop the nuclear supply chain.
Today's loan offer, together with participation in the project from Westinghouse, the nuclear power company, will enable Sheffield Forgemasters to build a 15,000 tonne press and finishing facility which can produce the ultra-large forgings, such as reactor pressure vessels, that are integral to modern civil nuclear reactors.
Currently, these forgings can only be produced in Japan for the global market, so this will make Sheffield Forgemasters only the second in the world, with the necessary nuclear accreditation, to make these critical components for the global civil nuclear industry.
The press facilities will also enable manufacture of the largest components for other industries such as oil and gas, carbon capture and storage, marine and hydro-electric.
In the long term around 180 direct highly skilled jobs will be created and many more during the construction phase.
A report published by the Nuclear Industry Association estimates that the UK supply chain currently has the capability to supply around 50 per cent of the plant and equipment for a new nuclear programme in the UK. With investment in facilities and training, such as announced today, the UK could supply around 70 per cent of the different components needed.
New civil nuclear build as well as the construction of CCS power plants are going to be a growth area in the coming decades, as countries around the world look to provide low carbon energy. This investment will put the UK at the centre of the global supply chain and create thousands more jobs in the wider UK civil nuclear manufacturing industry.
The Government has, today, also committed to co-fund the delivery of up to 1,000 apprenticeships per year in the nuclear energy sector.
"This is not just help for one company. Today we're announcing a willingness to invest that will make the UK a leading provider in the nuclear and the low carbon supply chain."
"Our high value manufacturing, knowledge base and highly skilled workforce mean with the right investment, like today's, the UK can win a huge amount of business in this growth sector," said Lord Mandelson.