A NORTH-EAST engineering firm has secured its biggest ever contract win to supply materials to a nuclear power station.

Darchem, based at Stillington, near Stockton, has secured a deal to supply the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset.

The deal will see the firm supply several large stainless steel pond and pool liners, in-containment reactor water storage tanks, and other tanks, vessels and ancillary equipment used throughout the life of the power station.

The contract is expected to exceed £90m for Darchem, a subsidiary of US company Esterline, over six and a half years.

The work is expected to begin later this year .

Bosses say a joint venture partnership between Darchem and Efinor (EDEL) was selected for the project due to EDEL’s combined expertise in similar nuclear pool liner projects, particularly in the UK and France.

Darchem-engineered materials help the project by reducing installation time and ensuring programme security by performing a majority of the fabrication in the factory, therefore requiring less time for construction at the site.

Billy Meijer, managing director at Darchem, said, “This contract culminates a long partnership between several parties to make the Hinkley Point C nuclear project a reality, and we are pleased to support it with our longstanding expertise in this sector. In addition, this sizeable contract for the Darchem team extends our ability to provide skilled jobs in the region, continue growing in-house talent, and expand our successful apprenticeship programme to support this key market segment.”

Darchem products have been serving the nuclear industry for more than 50 years and the firm is best known for the design, manufacture and installation of specialised thermal insulation to nuclear steam supply systems.

It also provides a wide range of other engineered materials for the nuclear industry.

The construction of Hinkley Point C began two years ago after the government signed a deal with French firm EDF and its Chinese partner CGN.

It is expected to provide seven per cent of the UK's electricity needs for 60 years.

More than 3,200 people are building the power station near Bridgwater.

EDF said it would be a "significant moment" when a 4,500 tonne concrete platform supporting the reactor buildings was completed in 2019.