A Newport manufacturing base has been confirmed as a preferred bidder for the Hinkley Point C project.

This means that the 200,000 of reinforcing steel involved in the building of the Somerset infrastructure project will be sourced from South Wales.

Express Reinforcements is based in Neath and has a manufacturing capability in Newport.

The firm will be using steel produced by CELSA Steel in Cardiff.

Express Reinforcements was given preferred bidder status via the Tier 1 contractor BYLOR (a joint venture between Bouygues TP and Laing O'Rourke) as part of the continuing preparatory work for the project.

Andy Lodge, managing director of Express Reinforcements, said: "We are pleased to be the preferred supplier of reinforcing steel to this contract through BYLOR.

"It cements long-term relationships and puts Express at the forefront of reinforcing steel supply, having already been a major supplier to other key infrastructure projects such as Crossrail and Heathrow Terminal 5. It shows that our proven track record in delivering on these significant projects is highly valued and local, responsibly-sourced steel to the highest quality standards is fundamental to all involved on this construction."

Martin Westbury, project director BYLOR said: “The joint venture is delighted at the prospect of working with Express Reinforcements as our preferred supplier to the Hinkley Point C project. The choice supports our strategy of working with the UK supply chain wherever possible, using UK-sourced materials.

"BYLOR is currently working closely with EDF Energy to prepare the site at Hinkley Point C for the main construction programme, so that when full Governmental approval is received, work can commence in earnest without delay.“

GMB, the union for workers in the steel industry, has welcomed EDF’s announcement that Welsh firm Express Reinforcements was the preferred bidder for a 200,000 tonne order of steel for Hinkley point C.

Dave Hulse, GMB national officer for steel, said "This is really good news for both Hinkley point C and the Welsh economy as a whole. At long last we have some good news for the steel industry in South Wales which has seen a big reduction in steel workers in recent times.

With this amount of steel being sourced from Express Reinforcements and Celsa Steel, let’s hope that manufactures like Port Talbot Tata Steel plant and Sheffield Forge Masters award further steel and forging contracts for this project in the UK, so that the positive economic impact of large manufacturing projects can spread to where it’s needed most.