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Government invests in UK nuclear supply chain

The Government has offered £80 million to Sheffield Forgemasters to develop a stronger nuclear supply chain for the UK.

In a move aimed at boosting the capability of British firms in the nuclear market, Business Secretary Lord Mandelson today announced a package of measures to strengthen the UK’s civil nuclear supply chain.

The decision to offer support to Sheffield Forgemasters is part of a strategic intervention to develop the nuclear supply chain, able to meet the demand of the next generation of new nuclear power stations to be built in the UK and to compete for orders worldwide.

The loan offer, together with participation in the project from nuclear giant Westinghouse, will enable Sheffield Forgemasters to build a major new manufacturing facility for ultra heavy forgings for civil nuclear power and other markets.

This will make the company only the second in the world with necessary nuclear accreditation, able to make the very largest forgings required to make the critical  components required for the global civil nuclear industry.

Lord Mandelson said: “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.”

Today’s news follows last year’s announcement of a Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in south Yorkshire, which will help UK civil nuclear manufactures develop world class manufacturing techniques and cost competitiveness, plus the creation of a Low Carbon Economic Area in civil nuclear in the North West and Yorkshire region.

Together these will create an international region of excellence in the civil nuclear supply chain.

Currently the UK is able to supply around 50 per cent of the plant and equipment for a new nuclear programme in the UK but with investment this could increase to 70 per cent.

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Miliband said: “Moving to a low carbon economy is crucial to tackling climate change and ensuring our energy security. And it’s a transition that provides opportunities to boost, jobs, skills and investment in Britain.”

“The support we are providing for Sheffield Forgemasters, and our commitment to boosting apprenticeships in nuclear, show our determination to support the industries of the future.”