Cumbrian figures react to government's new energy strategy

Jo Lappin (left) and Rebecca Weston (right) have given their opinion on the energy plans Credit: Font Communications

Cumbrian figures have given their opinions regarding the government's new energy strategy.

The UK government has announced plans for eight nuclear reactors around the country by 2050, reviving the prospects of a new plant in Cumbria.

The Moorside site next to Sellafield was mentioned in the "energy security strategy" published today. 

Toshiba abandoned plans for a nuclear plant there back in 2018, but it has now been shortlisted as a potential site for a new prototype nuclear fusion plant. 

The Government's announcement does not confirm that Moorside will be used but does confirm that it is one of the UK's eight "designated nuclear sites" around the country. 

The Government's energy review aims to control future energy prices by boosting nuclear, wind, solar and hydrogen.

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

Rebecca added: "With renewed focus on nuclear delivery, Cumbria must be a key target for investment."

The Government says it will also collaborate with other countries to accelerate work on advanced nuclear technologies.

Jo Lappin, Chief Executive of Cumbria LEP says the government's focus on nuclear energy is "excellent", going on to say it will "provide reliable, sustainable and secure power to our homes and industries for decades to come."

She said: "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."

But anti-nuclear campaigners say it's a step in the wrong direction.Marianne Birkby - Radiation Free Lakeland: "Nuclear power is dangerous, it's dirty, it's outdated and going forwards renewables can provide over 90% of the global energy needs."

On Moorside specifically she said: "This would be right next to the world's largest stockpile of plutonium. It's actually a buffer zone, and it's a very fragile area, it should absolutely not be used as new nuclear."