Cabinet Minister John Hayes MP visited Westinghouse Springfields recently for discussions on the future business opportunities for the site as well as a familiarisation tour of the site’s production facilities.
Mr Hayes was accompanied on his visit by the Fylde MP, Mark Menzies. While at Springfields, the Westinghouse-operated nuclear fuel manufacturing facility near Preston, the MPs received a business briefing from site management which included details of future commercial opportunities for Westinghouse in the UK and for the site in particular. They also learnt how Springfields will play a major role in Westinghouse’s new build programme in the UK by providing the fuel for three AP1000® reactors to be built on the Moorside site in Cumbria.
Mr Hayes, a former Energy Minister, showed particular interest in the planned AP1000 reactors in Cumbria and in how improvements in nuclear fuel performance could help extend the lives of Advanced Gas-cooled Reactors (AGRs) in the UK. He also heard of some of the potential opportunities for Springfields in attracting new business from overseas.
“As a former Minister of State I regularly represent Britain’s interests overseas as part of various trade delegations,” said Mr Hayes, “and hopefully in future I can help promote Springfields’ fuel manufacturing capabilities abroad as they seek to expand their business.”
The couple took the opportunity to tour the site’s multi-million pound Oxide Fuels Complex, the most modern nuclear fuel manufacturing plant in the world. The plant, capable of manufacturing fuel for any Light Water Reactor (LWR) in the world, will be used to produce fuel for the Westinghouse AP1000 reactors to be built in the UK.
“Our current business plan is robust but there are challenges to overcome and further commercial opportunities to pursue as we look to extend our existing business,” said Mick Gornall, Managing Director, UK Fuels Operations at Springfields. “Some of those opportunities are in very competitive overseas markets.”