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Government strategy commits to nuclear boost in bid for sustainable and secure energy future

The Government’s Energy Security Strategy published today [7 April] commits to significant acceleration of nuclear investment, with ambition of up to 24GW by 2050 to come from nuclear power.

The strategy sets plans to set up a new Government body, Great British Nuclear, and to bring forward new projects; including largescale new nuclear power plants and smaller scale SMR and AMR sites, using new technologies.

A decision is also set to be taken this year on the location for a prototype nuclear fusion plant, a first-of-kind Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) facility. The Moorside site in West Cumbria is one of the final five shortlisted locations.

Rebecca Weston, Chief Operating Officer of Sellafield Ltd and Cumbria LEP Board member said:

Government strategy commits to nuclear boost in bid for sustainable and secure energy future

“We’re extremely proud of the nuclear capability, supply chain and skills, built up over decades, that’s part of the backbone of Cumbria’s economy. We’ve also a track record in delivering first-of-kind nuclear energy facilities. With the North West home to over 40% of the nuclear workforce nationally, we can propel delivery of future nuclear facilities, whether that’s siting of smaller nuclear reactors or the world’s first nuclear fusion commercial facility.

“The strategy recognises the critical role nuclear can and should play in providing an abundant source of low carbon energy, increasing our resilience. At Sellafield, we’ve demonstrated time and again our ability to deliver innovative nuclear projects at scale.

“With renewed focus on nuclear delivery, Cumbria must be a key target for investment.”

Jo Lappin, Chief Executive of Cumbria LEP, said:

Government strategy commits to nuclear boost in bid for sustainable and secure energy future

“It’s excellent to see nuclear take centre stage in the Government’s strategy when it comes to the UK’s energy future. It’ll provide reliable, sustainable and secure power to our homes and industries for decades to come. We’ve been a strong advocate for a unifying organisation like Great British Nuclear to coordinate future development, so its creation today is a welcome move.

“Cumbria and the North West is uniquely placed to make a low carbon future a reality. We have the skilled workforce and pioneering spirit that established the region as the UK’s centre for nuclear excellence.

“With a key decision on where to locate the STEP nuclear fusion facility to be made this year, Moorside is the clear choice. We were the first for fission, and we’re well-qualified to be the first for fusion. We’re ready to work as a partner to Government and the new Great British Nuclear to deliver on these promising nuclear commitments.”

Cllr David Moore, Nuclear portfolio holder at Copeland Borough Council, said:

Government strategy commits to nuclear boost in bid for sustainable and secure energy future

“The new strategy commits to the UK’s clean energy future – Cumbria must be a major part of that next nuclear chapter. It’s not just about building on the solid foundations of innovation already established … nuclear investment would be a key levelling up opportunity and a catalyst for closing the productivity gap in our region.

“We’re confident that our joint bid to site the STEP fusion facility at Moorside shows our ability to work in partnership with local, regional and national partners on a compelling nuclear offer.

“Targeting new investment into Cumbria would not only be a vote of confidence in our key role in the UK’s nuclear landscape, but would put in place the building blocks for a future nuclear legacy securing long-term jobs, innovation and economic growth.

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