Around 20,000 construction jobs are expected to be created during a £10Bn project to build a nuclear power station near the existing nuclear site at Sellafield in Cumbria.
News that Japanese owned Westinghouse had bought a stake in the NuGen nuclear new building consortium for £102 million and promises to build the first of three reactors in half the time it will take to construct the recently approved Hinkley plant comes as a major boost to the UK nuclear industry.
Westinghouse parent company Toshiba says it will build the first reactor in four years and it will be finished by 2024. The first reactor at EDF’s £16Bn Hinkley development is to open in 2023, despite construction being due to start in earnest next year. There will be 1000 permanent jobs at the Cumbrian plant when it is completed.
Westinghouse says the speed of construction will be faster because its reactor – the Westinghouse AP1000 - is a proven type, a modular design that has been used elsewhere. The Hinkley reactor type is one of the first of a new design generation so is expected to proceed more slowly.
Toshiba has taken a 60% stake in the NuGen project, buying out a 50% stake from Spanish energy company Iberdrola, which owns ScottishPower, and another 10% stake from French group GDF Suez which now has a 40% share of the consortium. The completed project will be capable of generating 3.4GW, 7% of the UK’s electricity needs.
Another Japanese company, Hitachi, has invested in the plan to build new nuclear power stations at Wylfa in Anglesey and at Oldbury in Gloucestershire, which will also use the Westinghouse AP1000 reactors.
Photo of Sellafield: Simon Lendingham