Copeland MP Trudy Harrison to is to chair a panel discussion at a major conference on the commercialisation of small nuclear technology.

Mrs Harrison has been invited to oversee a debate including MPs and Peers at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Commercialisation of the Small Nuclear 2 conference, which takes in London on December 2.

The MP is a supporter of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), which are set to be the focus of the conference.

Both her and Copeland Borough Council have both vowed to up the ante on lobbying the Government to push for SMRs to be developed in Copeland.

And Mrs Harrison believes the Sellafield, Moorside and Fellside sites are “common sense locations” for the development of the reactors, which are smaller than their large-scale equivalents, can be constructed off site before installation and are cheaper to manufacture.

“As I consistently reinforce, nuclear energy is vital to the climate reduction target of 2050 and SMRs are a key component due to their fleet build potential,” she said.

“Small Modular Reactors are being developed with some reactors already embarking on the Generic Design Assessment process.”

On the potential for development in Copeland, she said the three likely sites would be able to draw on “decades of highly skilled experience and a community that understands nuclear”.

“There is nobody more disappointed that we have yet to secure Moorside, and every day I work to ensure a strong and confident nuclear future not just for Copeland but also the whole industry,” she added.

In August several businesses from Cumbria showcased their expertise and capability to multi-national engineering company Rolls-Royce, which is leading a consortium that is aiming to design and manufacture a first-of-a-kind SMRs in the UK.

The Government has said it will invest up to £18 million to support the consortium’s design work.

The consortium – which also includes Wood, the National Nuclear Laboratory and Nuvia – will itself invest more than £500m in the project, using money from its own funds and third-party organisations, and aims to have the first working model up-and-running in the early 2030s, creating 40,000 jobs at its peak.

They say each power station developed – which would roughly be the size of one-and-a-half football pitches – will generate enough energy to power 750,000 homes.

Appetite for the technology has grown in the past few years following the collapse of the NuGen’s £15bn large-scale development at the Moorside site adjacent to Sellafield, and the shelving of two other similarly sized projects in Wales and Gloucestershire over the eye-watering up-front costs involved.

SMRs are also set to be a hot topic of debate at the Global Reach 2019 event organised by the Shadow Board of Britain’s Energy Coast Business Cluster next month.

Alan Woods, director of strategy and business development for Rolls-Royce, is to outline how SMRs can help meet the needs of the low carbon economy at the event, which takes place at the Raddison Blu Hotel at Manchester Airport on November 6.

Interestingly, the event will also hear from Rob Davies, chief operating officer at CGN UK, on the benefits of bringing a “fleet effect” to nuclear development from China to the UK.

Mr Davies has described Moorside as a “smart site” when asked if CGN UK would be interested in developing a large-scale nuclear power station there.

CGN is already involved in the Hinkley Point C power station development in Somerset and has said it will look to bring forward the Bradwell B development in Essex forward to fill the gap left by the demise of NuGen’s plans for Moorside.