South West partners welcome Nuclear Sector Deal with government

Partners have welcomed a £200m agreement between the nuclear industry and government which paves the way for major new investment and further job creation in the South West.

The government has set out the details of its Nuclear Sector Deal, which contains measures to unlock productivity and put the UK and the South West at the forefront of the industry worldwide.

It comes as partners in the South West promote £50bn worth of opportunities within the region to the global industry at the World Nuclear Exhibition in Paris this week.

“Proposals announced by the Government are a strong vote of confidence in the nuclear industry to deliver on its growth ambitions and a ringing endorsement for the South West in particular,” said Matt Burley, chairman of the regional industry body Nuclear South West.

“Partners across the South West have worked closely with industry leaders and government to shape this deal. Now the sector must deliver. We have the talent, experience and knowledge in the South West to do just that and welcome the opportunity to get to work on the measures in this exciting and vitally important deal.”

Measures announce in the sector deal include:

  • Unlocking growth opportunities in the nuclear supply chain through joint Government and industry support for smaller companies to access higher value contracts and new markets. This adds to the support already in operation in the south west through the Hinkley Supply Chain, which has seen thousands of companies register interest in opportunities connected with the new power station being built in Somerset.
  • Funding of £32m for a programme of research and development to support continued innovation in the sector. This work builds on the efforts of the South West Nuclear Hub and the University of Bristol to develop research and innovation that benefits the industry supply chain.
  • Further support for the development of nuclear clusters of expertise, which can help to develop the industry in regions like the South West.

The South West is ideally placed to capitalise on these opportunities, through its involvement in projects which include Europe’s largest construction project at Hinkley Point C nuclear power station and its extensive supply chain, alongside decommissioning activity across four other sites and a defence programme spanning from Devonport in Plymouth to Abbey Wood near Bristol.

Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership Steve Hindley said: “The South West has an incredible opportunity to take a leading role in supporting the government’s plans to put the UK at the forefront of the global nuclear industry.

“We have £50bn worth of commercial opportunities to realise in this sector across the region; the partners have worked closely together to create this deal and stand ready to deliver.”

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For more information or to request an interview, please contact Ben Lowndes at Social Communications on 07387 140 782 or benl@social-communications.co.uk

Images of construction at Hinkley Point C and of Nuclear South West chairman Matt Burley can be downloaded here. Please credit EDF Energy if you are using the Hinkley Point C image.

Notes to editors

About Nuclear South West

Nuclear South West is a partnership of industry, academic and public sector, set up to champion the South West nuclear industry as the premier destination for investment, innovation and growth.

It is established and supported by the Heart of the South West, West of England and GFirst LEPs, with involvement from public sector and strategic organisations.

Research has shown that there are £50bn worth of opportunities in the nuclear industry within 75 miles of the South West region. The region has the expertise, ambition and vision – as well as a critical mass of thriving businesses – to act as a catalyst to drive economic productivity within the nuclear sector.

Hinkley Point C, the first new nuclear power station in the UK for a generation, will create 25,000 job opportunities, 1,000 apprenticeships and will pump £100m/year in to the regional economy.  The South West is also home to the Oldbury nuclear reactors in Gloucestershire, the South West Nuclear Research Hub – a partnership between Bristol and Oxford Universities, the National College for Nuclear, the Somerset Energy Innovation Centre and the Berkeley Green University Technical College.

More information can be found at www.nuclearsouthwest.co.uk

About the Nuclear Sector Deal

The Nuclear Sector Deal sets out a vision to ensure that the UK’s nuclear sector remains cost competitive with other forms of low-carbon technologies to support the government’s Clean Growth Strategy and Grand Challenge.

Through adopting new construction techniques and innovative approaches to manufacturing the deal will support reducing the costs of building new reactors in a way that builds domestic supply chain capability. It will enable the UK to develop advanced nuclear technologies, including SMRs, providing opportunities to improve productivity and skills throughout the UK.

It also sets out the sector’s commitment for a more diverse future workforce, targeting 40% women in nuclear by 2030. The measures will provide greater industry engagement in how we decommission in the UK, providing greater value for the taxpayer and supporting UK businesses to increase global exports.