Page last updated at 16:22 GMT, Thursday, 3 December 2009

New nuclear facilities announced

Lord Mandelson
The centre and factory will create nearly 500 jobs

A research centre and factory to support the UK's civil nuclear industry are to be based in South Yorkshire, the government has announced.

The Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC) will be based in Catcliffe, Lord Mandelson said.

Rolls-Royce's factory, which will assemble parts for the UK's 10 new nuclear power stations, will also be based somewhere in the county.

Nearly 500 jobs will initially be created, with hundreds more expected.

The research centre, which is expected to be up and running by the end of 2011, will be led by the University of Sheffield in partnership with the University of Manchester.

The government said it would bring together university research and industrial expertise to develop manufacturing techniques. About 170 direct jobs will be created.

The centre was a commitment under the government's Low Carbon Industrial Strategy, and is supported by £15m of government funding and £10m from development agency Yorkshire Forward.

This investment puts the region at the very heart of the UK's energy sector
Tom Riordan, Yorkshire Forward

The Rolls-Royce facility will manufacture and test components for the power stations, including reactor parts. The exact location for the facility still has to be announced.

It will result in more than 300 jobs, with hundreds more expected throughout the region.

The facilities were part of a package of measures outlined by Lord Mandelson on Thursday, during a visit to the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) at Catcliffe. The research centre will be built on an adjacent site.

The business secretary also announced an additional £8m to upgrade nuclear laboratories at Manchester University's Dalton Nuclear Institute, as well as the creation of a nuclear low carbon economic area in the North West and Yorkshire.

'Good news'

Lord Mandelson said: "We know that we have to make the transition to a low carbon future and the government is determined to ensure that British businesses get the support they need to seize the business opportunities that transition creates."

Tom Riordan, chief executive of Yorkshire Forward, said: "The UK's nuclear programme is expected to create over 4,500 engineering jobs over the next 25 years and more than £1bn a year to the industry and cements our position as a centre of excellence for manufacturing, to a global marketplace."

The announcement was welcomed by Prospect, the union for employees in the nuclear sector, who said it was a "great boost" for British industry.

National secretary Mike Graham said: "This announcement will help UK manufacturers to build skilled capacity, increase jobs and more effectively compete for contracts. It is very good news."

The announcement comes after the European Commission said it was backing plans for Britain's first coal-fired carbon capture plant at Hatfield, near Doncaster.

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