The North of England has the opportunity to become one of the world’s leading nuclear manufacturing hubs, creating many thousands of new jobs and generating substantial economic growth for the UK, according to a University of Manchester report.
The report commissioned by the Dalton Nuclear Institute, highlights the opportunity for the Government to invest in the vast potential of the region to meet the demands of the UK’s nuclear new build and use this as a springboard for providing goods and services to the £300bn global nuclear sector.
Already a world-leading centre for the nuclear supply chain with more than 50 per cent of the UK’s nuclear workforce, the North also contains the UK’s full fuel cycle capability, uranium conversion and enrichment, fuel fabrication, generation, spent fuel reprocessing, waste treatment and storage and decommissioning.
The global market for new nuclear build is estimated at more than £800bn over the next 20 to 30 years. The UK new nuclear build programme is estimated at £40bn, with the demand potential to support the rebalancing of the UK economy.
The report claims investment in the North of England would create at least 10,000 new jobs and secure many others in manufacturing and other professional services at a time when there are cut backs in other sectors. Many of the skills in sectors such as aerospace and oil and gas could complement the nuclear skills already available and pump billions of pounds into the UK economy.
One of the reports authors,Professor Peter Storey said:
“The UK Government and nuclear industry are faced with a choice,to do nothing and possibly watch the UK nuclear supply chain lose business and economic growth opportunities to overseas- based firms, or to develop a national policy to coordinate the development of UK nuclear supply chain and position UK based businesses for economic growth in the UK and overseas markets.
“This report makes it clear that commercial opportunities do exist. With a national policy that is coordinated with the nuclear industry, these opportunities can be realised.”