Nuclear Skills Strategy Group

30 Mar 2021

Westinghouse marks the 75th anniversary of its Springfields site in Lancashire


On 28th March 1946, Springfields was named as the site for nuclear fuel production for the UK and has played a vital role for both the industry and the UK ever since. Today, Springfields manufactures the nuclear fuel which produces around 32% of the UK’s low carbon electricity – playing a key role in the UK achieving its Net Zero by 2050 clean energy ambitions.

The 83 hectare nuclear licensed site is located near Preston, in the north west of England - at the heart of the UK’s North West Nuclear Arc (NWNA), and is a Strategic National Asset for the UK Government. The site also plays an important role for the regional economy, employing approximately 800 highly skilled nuclear professionals, and is home to the Oxide Fuels Complex (OFC), one of the most modern nuclear fuel manufacturing facilities in the world.

In 2020, the Springfields site launched the UK’s Clean Energy Technology Park to further support the UK’s Net Zero ambitions. The Clean Energy Technology Park provides a collaborative hub for demonstrating and accelerating the commercialisation of a broad range of nuclear-related technologies. Westinghouse is inviting technology providers to join a collaborative hub with access to world-class people and facilities to advance developments in game changing technologies within power generation.

The Clean Energy Technology Park is focussed on securing a long, sustainable future for the Springfields site – Shaping Tomorrow’s Future, by focusing around three areas:

  • Fuel Manufacturing Centre of Excellence
  • A leading facility for Nuclear Materials Management
  • A collaborative innovation hub for Advanced Nuclear Technologies

More than 7,000 Terawatt hours (TWh) of safe, clean and reliable electricity has been generated from fuel manufactured at Springfields, which has included fuel for Magnox Reactors, Advanced Gas-cooled Reactors (AGR), Pressurised Water Reactors (PWR). This is enough energy to supply the UK’s electricity demand for more than 20 years.

In 2019 alone:

  • More than 32 million fuel pellets were manufactured, with the 12 million AGR pellets providing enough energy to power every journey made by the UK’s 31 million cars (if they were all electric) in that year.
  • More than 250 PWR fuel assemblies were manufactured, which is enough to power more than 15 million homes, avoiding around 27 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.

These successes would not have been possible without the world class people and facilities on the site. More than 30% of our employees at Springfields were trained on-site in the Apprentice Training Centre, which has been at the heart of the local community for more than 70 years – training approximately 2,000 apprentices in total, both for our business, and other local companies. The high-quality training provided through our apprentice training programme has been central to the site’s success - both for our customers and the UK. Ensuring that our employees are equipped with the skills and expertise to safely deliver the highest quality products and services, is at the core of our Nuclear Safety Culture for which we have been recognised with 19 consecutive RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) awards.

“I am extremely proud of the role Springfields has played for the UK over its 75 year history, but I am more excited about the role that we will continue to play for the next 75 years,” said Brian Nixon, Managing Director at Springfields. “Our Clean Energy Technology Park has the capability and the capacity to fuel all the UK’s future new nuclear programs and develop clean energy technologies that will be pivotal to the UK achieving Net Zero by 2050 – securing highly skilled green jobs for future generations.”

To find out more about Springfields and the important role that our Clean Energy Technology Park can play for the UK, visit www.CETPspringfields.com.

Original blog post. 

Highlights