Engineering group Rolls-Royce has unveiled a deal which should secure 300 highly-skilled nuclear industry jobs at a new factory in South Yorkshire.

The factory will produce components for the first new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset, as part of a £400m deal with French energy giant Areva. The high-tech parts will be used inside the nuclear reactor. Manufacturing will take place at a factory which Rolls-Royce hopes to open in Rotherham late next year. Outline planning permission for the site at Catcliffe has already been given by Rotherham council. If it gets the final go-ahead Rolls-Royce hopes building work on the facility will start in the second half of this year. 'Terrific' news

Denis MacShane, Labour MP for Rotherham, said:

"I am glad that Britain and France will become European partners to build 21st Century nuclear power plants and Rotherham will play an important role. "Rolls-Royce has already announced significant investment in the Advanced Manufacturing Centre in Rotherham, built on the site of the old Orgreave colliery which was the scene of the famous miners' dispute in the 1980s."

He said modern engineering did not create as many jobs as the old steel and coal industries which South Yorkshire had traditionally depended on.

"It is advanced employment, it is skilled employment but the days of giant employment in big old-fashioned factories are over," he said. "Nonetheless, I think we can be honestly positive and say that Rotherham, Sheffield and South Yorkshire are now back in the engineering business. "It is terrific for the region and a good sign for Britain in this century.

Prime minister David Cameron said:

"The deal announced today between Rolls-Royce and Areva in terms of supplying nuclear power is worth 1,500 new jobs in the UK and... a brand new factory in Rotherham in Yorkshire that will be part of the nuclear supply chain. "So I think when you look at the detail of what we are doing on the economy, you can see two countries committed to working together, two countries that want to see growth, that want to see success and are committed to a very strong relationship."

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