A prominent Conservative councillor and academic is seeking volunteers to research the possible use of nuclear reactors in Cumbria.

Stephen Haraldsen, a county councillor for Yewdale, who is also a research fellow specialising in the history and governance of the nuclear industry, has called for people to get involved in the think-tank.

His search for volunteers comes with Government plans in the pipeline to site a new type of miniature nuclear reactor as part of a £500m scheme.

A series of events is due to be held in London and Cumbria over the next couple of months as part of a continuing mission to look into the project and to gauge the community’s attitude to the idea.

Mr Haraldsen said: “The Government seems set to announce that west Cumbria will be one of several sites for the deployment of Small and Advanced Reactors, such as the Rolls-Royce Small Modular Reactor.

“However, in both our research and through our public value events, there has been a persistent problem for infrastructure developments and business activities in west Cumbria – an issue that Paul Foster the CEO of Sellafield Ltd summed up succinctly at our convention – what does the community want?”

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) is launching a ‘hybrid forum’ to help answer that question.

The forum brings together technical experts from NNL with members of the public and representatives of interest groups such as trades unions, local councils and environmental campaigners.

The first session will include presentations and discussions with technical experts from NNL about details of the potential development to fully understand the size, scope and scale of AMR developments and what they might mean for West Cumbria.

The second session will aim to ensure citizens and technical experts have an informed, in-depth discussion about the development, its potential impacts and benefits and its relationships with the wider community.

The University will then launch a report based on the forum discussion later in the year which will help potential developers understand the community’s expectations of any modular reactor development in the area.

Mr Haraldsen added: “This report should inform the approach developers and authorities take to the siting process and lead to positive impact for the community in terms of the realistic outcomes it can focus upon achieving.”

The first event is due to be held on Wednesday October 9, while the second is scheduled for November 7.

Both will start from 6pm at UCLan’s Samuel Lindow Building on the Westlakes Science and Technology Park, south of Whitehaven.

Those who are interested in taking part are encouraged to contact Mr Haraldsen on 01946 517233 or email sharaldsen@uclan.ac.uk.

Leading politicans from the area hope the nuclear reactors could put Cumbria at the vanguard of a new nuclear Renaissance despite the collapse of the Moorside project.

The Government is poised to formally announce the plans but a consortium led by Rolls-Royce is already proposing to build prototype in an investment with the Government of £500m.

Small modular reactors or SMRS are smaller than their equivalents in large-scale nuclear power stations.

They can also be constructed off site before installation, and are cheaper to manufacture.