Westinghouse to take on Springfields

10 September 2009

Westinghouse and the UK government's Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) have announced that they are close to reaching a deal that will see the long-term management of the Springfields fuel site transferred to Westinghouse.

 Springfields (Image: NDA)
Springfields (Image: NDA)

In April 2005, as part of the UK government's restructuring of the nuclear industry, the newly-created NDA took over responsibility for the assets and liabilities of Springfields, near Preston in northwest England. The Springfields Fuels Limited site licence company (SLC) was formed to operate the site and Westinghouse was awarded the site management and operation (M&O) contract, which is due to expire at the end of March 2010. The ongoing discussions between the NDA and Westinghouse involve the introduction of a long-term lease of the site after the current M&O contract expires, as well as the transferral of the SLC to Westinghouse.

Speaking in London at the World Nuclear Association Annual Symposium earlier today, Aris Candris, President and CEO of Westinghouse, said: "This arrangement would give Westinghouse the opportunity to consider significant investment in the site as we continue to see strong signs of a nuclear renaissance, bringing with it increased demand for fuel supplies. It offers longer-term security of employment to current employees, as well as the potential for new jobs in the future." Some 1350 people are employed at the site.

Candris said that initial investment would focus on restarting PWR fuel manufacture at the site. In addition, the site might also be used as a base to manufacture modules for AP1000 nuclear units. "If a successful arrangement can be agreed, then the outcome will represent a positive benefit for the NDA, for Westinghouse, for the current and future employees of the site, and for the UK's nuclear industry as a whole," Candris said. 


Bill Hamilton, Head of Stakeholder Communications at the NDA, told WNN that the NDA is "determined to make the deal a success." From the NDA's point of view, he said, the deal would mean that the decommissioning of Springfields will take place much later than previously thought. Nuclear liabilities arising after March 2010 would be Westinghouse's responsibility, he added.


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The 83 hectare (205 acre) site was established in 1946 and fuel production activities there were taken over in 1971 by BNFL, which later took full ownership of the site in 1994. Westinghouse, which was then a subsidiary of BNFL, remained as the site manager when the Springfields site transferred to the NDA in 2005. Westinghouse was acquired by Toshiba in 2006.