Page last updated at 09:34 GMT, Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Sheffield firm gets 80m to make nuclear components

Sheffield Forgemasters [picture: Laurance Richardson]
The firm makes heavy forged and cast steel products

A company in South Yorkshire is being given an £80m loan from the government to build parts for the next generation of nuclear power stations in the UK.

Sheffield Forgemasters said their plans would create about 180 skilled jobs.

The firm is to build a new facility where "ultra-large" forgings would be made.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said it would make the firm one of two in the world able to make large forgings for the nuclear energy industry.

'Vital product'

The Government loan comes in addition to funds lent by other businesses including nuclear power firm Westinghouse Electric and the Sheffield office of the Lloyds Banking Group.

Graham Honeyman, chief executive at Sheffield Forgemasters, said: "The Government loan forms the final piece of a two-year project to finance the installation of a 15,000 tonne forging press which will place the UK at the peak of a global supply chain for civil nuclear manufacturing.

"This is a massive coup for UK manufacturing and firmly underpins the country's place at the leading edge of engineering technology."

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.

"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."

Michael Macdonald, of the Prospect union, said: "Not only is it great news for local job security, but workers at Sheffield Forgemasters will be making a vital product to support new nuclear build in the UK, as well as the global market."

The has government also announced it will help fund up to 1,000 apprenticeships a year in the nuclear energy sector.

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