Ireland’s lead planning agency An Bord Pleanála has given chip giant Intel the go-ahead it needs to construct a massive US$4bn chip plant that will produce the next generation of 14 nanometer (nm) microprocessors. The two year-project, if it gets the final go-ahead from Intel’s board, has the potential to generate 3,500 construction and 800 full-time technology jobs.
In early 2011, Intel revealed plans to begin a substantial new US$500m construction project at is Leixlip campus in Co Kildare, where it already employs around 4,000 people. The new build, a redevelopment of the former Fab 14 operation at Leixlip, is to develop the next-generation facilities to handle future products.
At the time, Intel said the project would create 200 high-level technology jobs, as well as 850 construction jobs.
Now it appears that number of jobs could be quadrupled as Intel moves to the next generation of computing technology as it keeps pace with Moore’s Law.
In May last year, Intel CEO Paul Otellini confirmed Intel Ireland’s Leixlip plant is one of three global sites that has been chosen to produce its next-generation 14nm chips. The two other sites that have been chosen are Intel’s Oregon and Arizona plants.
Intel is moving from a 22nm process to a 14nm process and aims to create 10nm, 7nm and 5nm chips beyond 2015.
The plans for Intel’s new chip fabrication plant in Ireland
It is understood that Kildare County Council approved the plans in August 2012 but they were appealed to An Bord Pleanála.
The final go-ahead from An Bord Pleanala’ was granted a week ago on Thursday, 17 January, with some revised conditions.
According to the inspector’s report, the development consists of a new semiconductor wafer fabrication facility with a total stated floor area of 244,819 sq metres within the existing Intel manufacturing complex which will operate alongside existing site infrastructure and buildings.
According to the plans, the facility will cost US$4bn to develop in full and will employ about 3,500 construction workers over the two-year build programme.
The project will provide for an estimated 800 full-time permanent jobs on site.
The new buildings will include a three-storey main fabrication facility (FAB) with a floor area of 101,000 sq metres and will comprise IC assembly equipment within an open clean room supported by two utility floors, an air conditioning mezzanine and utility trenches.
Other buildings include a process specific support system building to house liquid chemicals and collection of waste water, as well as a facility support building, a two-storey boiler/chiller facility, a water treatment building and emergency generation and electrical buildings with backup electrical capacity supplied by diesel turbines.
The plan also includes a multi-storey carpark extending over five levels, a new chemical storage building, as well as ancillary works and a new retention pond to catch additional surface water runoff.