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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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NuGen steps up its plans for nuclear new-build

THE team behind the proposed multi-billion-pound nuclear new-build near Sellafield will be back on site by August, it has been confirmed.

By Andrew Clarke

A team from NuGen will begin to carry out geographical surveys at Moorside that, it is hoped, will pave the way for a new power station with three reactors being built.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) says the project would bring at least £10billion of investment and create up to 21,000 jobs over the construction, including peak on-site employment of more than 6,000. Once operational, the reactors would employ 1,000.

Promoting the benefits of new nuclear build was the aim of a successful industry day, organised by the Sellafield Workers’ Campaign (SWC),

The event heard from John McNamara, NuGen’s head of corporate communications, who accepted that recent progress on site has been slow, but “momentum will build” starting with the surveys that begin in August.

Mr McNamara added that it is hoped that site suitability will be determined next year, planning permission and licensing granted in 2018, allowing for construction to begin in 2020. The first reactor would go on stream in 2024 and all three, with a combined 3.4GW capacity, operational by 2026.

Launching SWC’s industry day, Copeland MP Jamie Reed said that new-build will make Cumbria a “global player”.

“The benefits will be astonishing, and will transform the area in a way nobody thought possible only a few years ago.”

He added that there is “genuine political consensus” on nuclear energy for the first time, adding: “The future of West Cumbria is brighter than it has ever been”.

Elaine Woodburn, leader of Copeland Council, spoke of the “lasting legacy” that new-build can bring in terms of business, transport and housing locally.

She said: “Moorside will cement the reputation we already have as the centre of nuclear excellence.”

It was revealed in January that Toshiba has joined the NuGen consortium, having acquired, in principal, the 50 per cent stake of Spanish energy company Iberdrola and 10 per cent of the stake owned by the French energy company GDF Suez. GDF retains the remaining 40 per cent.

Craig Dobson, SWC’s secretary, said: “Nuclear is the best option we have to tackle climate change; It can no longer be business as usual and we must act now.

“SWC’s single purpose is to make nuclear new-build happen sooner rather than later.”

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