THE BUSINESS and Energy Minister has hailed plans to build a multi-billion pound nuclear power station near Oldbury after it was announced the plant would create 6,000 jobs during construction.

Michael Fallon met with executives from Hitachi and Horizon at Gloucester Rugby Club yesterday to discuss their proposal to invest £20 billion in two new nuclear plants in Shepperdine and Wylfa on Anglesey.

Speaking ahead of the visit, he welcomed the development in South Gloucestershire, which is expected to create 6,000 jobs during construction and at least 1,000 permanents posts once the station is up and running.

"Hitachi has made a 100-year commitment to investing in nuclear in the UK, with £20 billion planned investment in reactors at Wylfa and Oldbury," he said.

"Hitachi expect that up to 6,000 jobs will be directly supported during construction at each site, with a further 1,000 permanent jobs at each site once operational.

"We welcome international investment in our energy infrastructure, but this project is particularly exciting because it will provide thousands of jobs for British workers and hundreds of contracts for British businesses."

At the meeting attended by hundreds of locals businesses, Mr Fallon announced a host of contracts, in various sectors including construction, catering and cleaning which firms would be able to bid for.

The Japanese nuclear firm plans to build two to three reactors at each site with the first station in Wylfa beginning generation in the first half of the 2020s.

During his visit to Gloucester, the Minister reaffirmed the Government's commitment to the nuclear industry.

"I want to be clear that we are firmly committed to ensuring that new nuclear goes ahead in this country," he said. "Nuclear already provides around a fifth of our electricity, so it is vital for our energy security now, and in future."

Both plants will provide enough energy to power 10 million homes over 60 years.

Hitachi said that about 60 per cent of the value of their first nuclear plant was expected to be sourced locally. Agreements have already been signed with Babcock International and Rolls Royce to provide parts for the new reactors.

Alan Raymant, Horizon chief operating officer, said: "We are delighted to be able to lay out our plans today, and discuss how we can work alongside government and potential suppliers to ensure UK firms are well placed to take advantage of the opportunities our project will create, and to maximise benefits for the UK economy."

The meeting came ahead of a visit by the Secretary of State, Edward Davey next week to Japan and South Korea, where he will meet a number of businesses and investors in energy, as well as executives from Hitachi.