Steel made in the UK will not be used for the largest forgings at Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, its owners have confirmed.
The decision was made because of the UK steel industry’s lack of capability and capacity, EDF Energy said.
Hinkley Point C will contain roughly 200,000 tonnes of steel reinforced in concrete, as well as over 600,000 embedment plates and large quantities of structural steelwork, EDF Energy said.
“It is our expectation that a large proportion of this requirement will come from UK companies, subject to a competitive process,” a statement on the company’s website said.
EDF Energy also said: “There will be opportunity for suppliers, including those in the UK, to compete in the supply of forged components for the turbine generators and in other items such as pumps, motors, valves and the like."
However, Gareth Stace, director of trade association UK Steel, said it was “deeply concerning” that British steel will not be mandated for use at Hinkley Point.
“Government cannot afford to let up on ensuring that all major procurement projects, from nuclear sites to tidal barrages and airports, all use British steel,” Stace said.
Stace’s comments were made in light of more jobs cuts within the troubled UK steel sector.
Sheffield Forgemasters announced today it was cutting up to 100 jobs, while Tata Steel said it was cutting a further 1,050 earlier this week.
Stace said the government’s review of business rates could “significantly reduce” the multi-million pound bill plants have to pay.
“This action must take place now, before further jobs are lost,” he said.
Government is also wrong to say there is nothing it can do about the price of steel – a major cause of the problem is Chinese dumping, Stace added.
“A concerted effort by government working in Brussels and Beijing can even now have a critical and positive impact.”
However, industry union Community general secretary Roy Rickhuss accused the UK government of supporting China.
“The dumping of cheap Chinese steel is one of the biggest causes of this crisis, yet the UK government remains a cheerleader for China and their bid for ‘market economy status’, which would decimate what’s left of our steel industry,” Rickhuss said.
“This cannot be allowed to happen.”
Meanwhile, the government’s lack of vision was called into question by manufacturers’ organisation EEF last November when it made funding cuts to the carbon capture and storage (CCS) programme.
“CCS has the potential to halve the costs of decarbonising the UK economy by 2050, which amounts to £32 billion a year by 2050. In choosing to save a relatively small sum of tax payer money in 2015, government is unnecessarily committing vast amount of future energy consumers’ money,” said Claire Jakobsson, head of climate & environment policy at EEF.
““For many sectors, such as steel and cement, there are simply no other options available for cutting emissions. No CCS locks many industrial sectors into a carbon intensive future paying increasing amounts in carbon taxes,” Jakobsson added.