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January

Forgemasters welcomes British nuclear power programme

11 January 2008

Sheffield Forgemasters International Ltd, has welcomed the government's green light on a new generation of nuclear power stations.

The 200-year-old company is one of a few forging specialists in the world with the knowledge and experience to produce the highly engineered components required for the latest generation of nuclear power plants.

Graham Honeyman, chief executive at Sheffield Forgemasters, said: "We have a massive power deficit building in this country and the only way to adequately address the problem is through nuclear power.

"It is very important that the option to manufacture for these power plants is within the UK. There is a huge global demand for nuclear power components and less than ten companies capable of such manufacture.

"Sheffield Forgemasters has a long and proven history in supplying to the nuclear industries and the government announcement could provide a significant vote of confidence in UK manufacture."

Forgemasters has achieved high levels of success since a management buy out three years ago and now exports 80 per cent of its products. The company's existing facilities would need to expand to accommodate an increased workload should it benefit from the nuclear programme, which would demand a larger 15,000 tonne press.

This issue was raised during parliamentary debate yesterday by Sheffield Central MP and former Forgemasters employee Richard Caborn, with acknowledgement from John Hutton that government would need to invest significantly in the nuclear skills industry and in engineering if the UK is to take advantage of this opportunity.

Mr Hutton also praised the existing extraordinary facilities and expertise at Forgemasters following his own visit to the plant in 2007.

Sheffield Forgemasters has coveted ASME NCA 3800 quality assurance certification, enabling it to manufacture components for the civil nuclear industries.

It is also a supplier of critical components to the UK defence industry, such as the manufacture of explosion pressure vessels for the Atomic Weapons Establishment and components for the UK nuclear submarine programme, which includes the Astute Class vessels. It has also taken a £60m deal to supply Germany with casks for transporting and storing its nuclear waste.