NUCLEAR company Westinghouse hit out at claims yesterday that an impending power plant contract would cost the UK thousands of jobs.<br /><br />The group, which Japanese firm Toshiba bought three years ago from the government, is set to announce a deal with Shaw Group, one of its largest shareholders, in the next fortnight.<br /><br />US-based Shaw Group will run its £10bn nuclear programme, ousting Fluor, which had been the favourite for the contract.<br /><br />The Unite union had said that 10,000 new jobs in the UK would not be created as a direct result of Shaw’s selection. <br /><br />But Westinghouse said yesterday it expected to source 80 per cent of the staff for the new project from the UK, with construction group Laing O’Rourke playing a major role. <br /><br />“The UK has the infrastructure and the capacity to allow us to hire most of our staff for this project from there,” a spokesman said. “We also foresee more jobs being created in the north of England in building fuel for further projects,” he added.<br /><br />Westinghouse is 77 per cent owned by Toshiba, and 20 per cent owned by Shaw Group. <br /><br />Shaw and Westinghouse are already in partnership, building nuclear reactors in the Middle East and the US. But the pair now hope to win contracts to build its AP1000 reactors with energy groups E.ON and RWE npower, who have teamed up to form a nuclear joint venture in the UK.