Trade unions said on 28 April that they are resisting plans to make up to 120 employees redundant at the Springfields nuclear fuel manufacturing facility near Preston in the UK. Springfields is operated by Springfields Fuels Limited under the management of Westinghouse Electric UK Limited on 150-year lease. The site currently employs around 800 people and supports 4,000 further jobs across the wider supply chain. Trade unions Prospect and Unite have since said cutting more than 10 roles would put the UK's drive to be carbon neutral at serious risk. Prospect senior deputy general secretary, Sue Ferns, described the job losses as a "hammer blow" to both Springfields, the Lancashire economy, and a carbon neutral future.
In the 2018 Nuclear Sector Deal, the UK government said it "recognises the strategic national importance of maintaining its fuel capabilities and will work with UK nuclear fuel industry to ensure continued, commercial operation of these facilities to deliver future energy security as well as ensuring the UK nuclear fuel industry continues to deliver long-term UK economic benefit".
Responding to the potential job losses, Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “The loss of 120 jobs at the successful Springfields Fuels facility near Preston is to be strongly deplored and we will be asking the company for the business rationale behind this decision. The management should not be allowed to erode the capability of this key strategic national asset on the sole grounds of increasing profits.” She added: “The threat to these jobs reinforces the need for the government to urgently bring forward its ‘mixed’ energy policy, including carbon-free nuclear, as a cornerstone of the much-heralded industrial strategy for the post-Brexit, post-Covid UK economy. Such a policy would support the government’s speeded up proposal to cut the UK’s carbon emissions by 78% by 2035.”