The Government announced plans today to help boost the creation of a nuclear supply chain including the provision of an £80m loan to Sheffield Forgemasters.
Business Secretary Lord Mandelson announced the package of measures at the centre of which is finacial assistance to enable Sheffield Forgemasters to build a major new manufacturing facility for ultra heavy forgings for civil nuclear power and other markets.
The decision 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.
Today’s loan offer will make the company the second only 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.
“This is not just help for one company,” Lord Mandelson said. “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.
“This is Government and industry working together to build the success of British manufacturing. This will help to realise the potential of our industrial base to be world leading, export led, and creating jobs and value here at home.”
Funding is coming from the £950 million Government’s Strategic Investment Fund which was created to invest in the UK’s basic capabilities for industrial innovation, job creation and growth in a highly competitive global economy.
Unite has welcomed the move. The union’s Dougie Rooney said: “The only hope for the nation in terms of being able to pay off its debts is for the UK’s engineering industry to become a global supply-chain player supplying components and equipment for new energy projects.”
Today’s offer 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.