Business Secretary Lord Mandelson has announced the Government is offering Sheffield Forgemasters an £80 million loan to build a 15,000 tonne press and finishing facility that will also boost the scrap industry.
Designed to strengthen the UKs civil nuclear supply chain, the facility will produce ultra-large forgings such as reactor pressure vessels, integral to modern civil nuclear reactors. Currently, these can only be produced in Japan for the global market, making Sheffield Forgemasters the second only in the world with necessary nuclear accreditation able to make the very largest forgings required.
Sheffield Forgemasters director Peter Birtles told MRW: In so far as the volume of steel we make in Sheffield will increase to generate more ingots for the new facility, our consumption of scrap from the industry will increase accordingly.
An extra 1,000 to 1,200 tonnes of scrap a week may be bought in to deal with requirements.
Funding for the project has been taken from the £950 million Strategic Investment Fund, which was created to invest in the UKs basic capabilities for industrial innovation, job creation and growth in global economy. The Governments money is to be combined with private finance and support from nuclear power company Westington House.
Lord Mandelson said: This is not just help for one company. Today were 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 todays, 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.
It is thought that this will be a big boost to industry as nuclear reactor design companies will start to look to the UK to purchase other components for nuclear new-build and refit for build in Europe and beyond.
Around 180 skilled jobs will be created with the new facility with thousands of more expected to be created in the wider UK civil nuclear manufacturing industry.