Unions, businesses and politicians have welcomed major new plans for the Moorside site which could create thousands of jobs.

The Moorside Clean Energy Hub project was launched yesterday, proposing the development of two new EPR-type reactors – the same design that is being constructed at Hinkley Point C in Somerset – as part of a clean energy park.

The hub also hopes to attract developments for small and advanced modular reactors, like those proposed by the Rolls-Royce-led UK SMR Consortium, to be built nearby, and to link with renewables and green hydrogen projects to "create an integrated clean energy hub for the North West."

The Unite union said the development could result in the creation of 25,000 jobs across the North West, while GMB has also given the hub its backing.

Ritchie James, regional secretary for Unite, said: “The fact that this consortium is looking beyond tomorrow and into a low-carbon future is good news, given that there could be a post-pandemic 25,000 jobs bonanza across the region if this takes off.

“When Toshiba withdrew from the Moorside site after well-publicised financial problems in 2018, this was a blow to the economic future of Cumbria – we hope the consortium, to which Unite has signed up to, will kickstart a decision from Government.”

The consortium behind the hub, which is made up of EDF and partners including Atkins and Doosan Babcock, has also been in talks with Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, Copeland Council and the Britain's Energy Coast Business Cluster to develop the plans.

Ivan Baldwin, chair of the Business Cluster, said the Energy Coast was a "leading location for low-carbon energy development" due to it having some of the largest offshore windfarms and nuclear energy clusters in the world.

“We look forward to continuing collaborative discussions with the Moorside Consortium which complement regional ambitions to establish a Clean Energy Hub.”

David Moore, Copeland Council’s portfolio holder for nuclear and corporate services, added: "The proposal from the Moorside consortium for the provision of a clean energy hub and industrial cluster aligns closely with the vision set out in the Cumbria Nuclear Prospectus and is fantastic news for the locality.

"As the council’s portfolio holder, I look forward to continuing the dialogue with the consortium to bring this exciting proposal to fruition, possibly alongside small and advanced nuclear technologies.”

Copeland MP Trudy Harrison, who campaigned for the previous power station plans to be saved before they were scrapped, welcomed the engagement of the nuclear supply chain at what she said was a "critical stage."