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'Hopefully the Beacon will become self-sustainable'

A bid to develop the Beacon museum in Whitehaven has been submitted by Copeland Borough Council.

Councillors say the development, that would cost an estimated £1.2 million, would benefit the economy in West Cumbria.

The museum was re-opened this spring after Sellafield agreed to pay for its running costs for the next five years.

Elaine Woodburn, Leader of Copeland Borough Council, said:

'Fantastic scope' for the Beacon Museum

A bid to develop the Beacon museum in Whitehaven has been submitted by Copeland Borough Council.

The development would cost an estimated £1.2 million and councillors say it would be beneficial to the economy in West Cumbria.

"The Beacon is one of Copeland's most valuable assets and has great potential to bring more visitors to this part of West Cumbria.

“This is a real opportunity for Whitehaven to be able to hold more events and attract more interest. It's also important to build capacity which will in turn generate more income so that the Beacon becomes self-sustainable for the long term.

"It’s a venue with amazing views and exhibits, so there is fantastic scope to maximise commercial and national exhibitions, offer better opportunities for hire space and hold bigger, more prestigious events.”

– Elaine Woodburn, Copeland Borough Council

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Bid to develop the Beacon Museum

The existing Beacon Museum Credit: ITV Border

A bid for extra funding to extend the Beacon Museum in Whitehaven has been submitted by Copeland Borough Council.

They are looking for an external grant from the Coastal Community Fund and Copeland Community Fund in order to provide extra facilities and space at the site.

If the project goes ahead, it's expected to cost about £1.2m. It's hoped the extension would be complete by Autumn 2015.

An impression of the new development Credit: Copeland Borough Council

It's a focus on two objectives. The first, to create a commercial conference space, and secondly to increase the exhibition with flexible gallery space and adjacent event and hire resources.

Former workers recall glory days of Magnox plant

It's 50 years since the start of operations at the Magnox reprocessing plant at Sellafield in Cumbria.

The plant opened in 1964 and to date, it has reprocessed 52 thousand tonnes of radioactive waste from Magnox power stations in the UK.

Thousands of people have worked there, it now employs around 400.

To mark the facility's 50th birthday, 50 former workers were invited along, including one engineer who was there on the very first day it opened.

Our cameras were allowed in for the first time in half a century. Matthew Taylor reports.

Magnox plant has been 'safely run for 50 years'

The Sellafield magnox reprocessing plant was built in 1964 Credit: Sellafield Ltd

It's 50 years since the Sellafield magnox reprocessing plant began operating.

In that time, the West Cumbrian facility has reprocessed more than 50,000 tonnes of spent nuclear fuel. It will reprocess a further 3,000 tonnes before it closes in six years time.

Staff work to produce uranium and plutonium for making nuclear power Credit: Sellafield Ltd

It produces uranium and plutonium which could be reused in making nuclear power in the future.

Opponents of nuclear energy have criticised the amount of discharges from the plant over the years but Sellafield Ltd, which runs the operation, said it has been "safely run for 50 years."

50 years of Sellafield reprocessing plant

It's 50 years since the Sellafield magnox reprocessing plant began operating.

In that time, the West Cumbrian facility has reprocessed more than 50,000 tonnes of spent nuclear fuel.

It will reprocess a further 3,000 tonnes before it closes in six years' time.

The plant separates spent fuel rods into plutonium and uranium which could be reused in power station in the future.

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Sir Tony Cunningham says 'the time is right' to retire

After a career as a councillor, mayor, MEP and MP - the knight, Sir Tony Cunningham has decided to retire from Westminster at the next election.

The Workington MP said he wanted to spend more time with his family, particularly his young son.

Our Political Correspondent Paul Brand caught up with him in his constituency as he announced his decision.

Trivia: Sir Tony Cunningham's varied career

Sir Tony Cunningham received his Knighthood in 2012 Credit: PA
  • Sir Tony was born in Workington in 1952 and has spent most of his life there, working as a teacher before going into politics.
  • His political career began locally, serving as Mayor of Workington and Leader of Allerdale Council in the 1990s.
  • In 1994 he was elected to the European Parliament where he developed an interest in international development.
  • In 1995 he published the Cunningham Report, which was the first report to call for the complete and outright ban of landmines.
  • Before becoming an MP in 2001, he briefly worked as Chief Executive of the human rights organisation Indict, looking at authoritarian regimes such as Saddam Hussein's rule in Iraq.
  • In his spare time Sir Tony is an avid sports fan, playing rugby and football and running regularly. While living in Zanzibar he even played first division soccer.
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