A DEAL which is set to secure hundreds of high-tech jobs at a new factory in South Yorkshire was today hailed as a ‘welcome shot in the arm’ for the local economy.
Engineering group Rolls-Royce unveiled the deal which should secure the highly-skilled nuclear industry job.
The factory will produce components for the first new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset, as part of a £400m deal with French energy giant AREVA.
The landmark agreement was signed by Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Deputy PM and Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg said today: “I am determined to bring jobs to South Yorkshire, especially in advanced manufacturing where we have such expertise and heritage. This announcement is a welcome shot in the arm for Sheffield and South Yorkshire.
“These jobs will not just benefit big manufacturers but also smaller companies in the supply chain.
“We worked very hard with President Sarkozy and the French Government to reach this historic agreement.
“It is a great deal for the whole country and South Yorkshire in particular.”
Speaking in France, David Cameron said: “I am delighted that Rolls-Royce and AREVA have today announced their intention to work together on global civil nuclear projects.
“This collaboration will deliver significant growth and create more than 1,000 high quality manufacturing jobs in the UK over the next few years.”
The deal could be worth £400 million to Rolls-Royce and underpins its plans to create 350 jobs at a new nuclear engineering plant, dubbed Project PoWer, on the Advanced Manufacturing Park between Sheffield and Rotherham.
The first phase of the project is expected to be open for business before the end of 2013.
Although the deal with AREVA will not lead to the immediate creation of more jobs at Project PoWer, it does mean the new factory will have a full order book from day one and could accelerate plans that are already in place to extend the plant.
It is also likely to mean more work and jobs for the region’s advanced manufacturing firms that are further down the supply chain. And, it will mean additional projects for the new Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, built by Sheffield University on the AMP and backed by Rolls-Royce and AREVA, among others.
Nuclear AMRC programme director Professor Keith Ridgway said: “We are delighted to hear this news, which effectively kick-starts the new nuclear build programme.
“Nuclear AMRC will play a pivotal role in developing the next generation nuclear power plants and we hope we can assist UK companies to successfully compete in the emerging supply chain.
“It is fantastic that Rolls-Royce have committed to this site.
“It means a great deal to the regeneration and perception of South Yorkshire as a high value manufacturing region.”
Rotherham MP Denis MacShane also welcomed the news of the deal with AREVA: “I’m glad that Britain and France will become European partners to build 21st century nuclear power plants and Rotherham will play an important role.”
n Rolls-Royce’s Project PoWer development on the Advanced Manufacturing Park will eventually cover 21,000 sq metres, the size of almost three football pitches.
The premises will be 38 metres high at one end, which will be big enough to accommodate vessels weighing up to 140 tonnes which will be at the heart of the next generation of nuclear power stations.