Plans for a long-term lease at a nuclear site in England could create 500 jobs over the next five years, union leaders have announced.

Power utility Westinghouse Electric said it is in advanced discussions with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) over the future of its fuel site at Springfields near Preston.

The talks involve a long-term lease when the current contract ends in March 2010.

The Westinghouse president and CEO Aris Candris told The Press Association that the 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.’

Unite union national officer Dougie Rooney told the news agency that “this is excellent news for skilled manufacturing jobs. The agreement would mean the retention of 1,500 jobs and create a further 500 jobs over the next five years.”