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Polish firm wins Severn Power deal

Polish contractor Polimex-Mostostal has secured the multi-million pound steelworks package for the Severn Power station in South Wales.

Polimex-Mostostal is one of Poland’s biggest manufacturers and exporters of steel products and platform gratings.

It was appointed by the Severn Power scheme’s main contractor Siemens, which is managing the design, engineering, construction, commissioning, testing, operation and management of the 850MW combined cycle gas turbine plant.

The station, at Uskmouth in South Wales, is expected to cost £450 million to build. A Siemens spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that we have awarded a 12-month contract to Polimex to erect two turbine halls on the Uskmouth site.”

The turbine halls will be 54 m long by 38 m wide and 22 m high. Housed there will be a gas
turbine, steam turbine, generator, overhead maintenance crane, start up transformer, various tanks and pumps, an electric steam super heater and compressed air receivers. The spokeswoman said that Siemens did not know whether Polimex would bring in its own workers, but added: “Usually a Polish building company will use its own staff, but if it needs to supplement them then it will use local workers.”

Power station schemes have been the centre of controversy since workers staged strikes over the use of non-British labour on the Lindsey oil refinery at North Killingholme in Lincolnshire. Some media reports suggested that Uskmouth was one of a number of sites using a high level of foreign labour. But Welsh Power, the parent of Severn Power, said it had an “explicit policy of using local contractors wherever possible”.

Welsh Power chief executive Alex Lambie said: “We use local contractors wherever possible, and we have asked Siemens, the main contractor for the new build Severn Power, to do this as well - 82.5 per cent of those inducted to work on the Severn Power construction site are British.”

Planning permission was awarded to the Severn Power project by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform in August 2007.

It is the ninth turnkey power plant to be built by Siemens in the UK and the first in Wales. The station is due to start commercial operation in 2010 following a 30-month construction period and four months of commissioning.