CUMBERLAND council leader Mark Fryer has expressed his 'bitter disappointment' at the news that the building of the first small modular reactors will not take place in Cumberland, following news that the first reactors will be developed in Teesside.

However, the leader has said that the news does not mean that reactors will not be developed on land near Moorside in the future, as he urges the government to make the land available for initial survey work.

On Thursday, February 8, Westinghouse Electric Company announced that it had signed an agreement with Community Nuclear Power, Ltd. (CNP) that puts it on track to deploy the UK’s first privately-financed small modular reactor fleet, with the Westinghouse AP300 SMR.

Westinghouse said the project 'is a significant step in making this new energy sector a reality with commercial operation expected by the early 2030s'.

The agreement is to build four AP300 SMRs in the north Teesside region. 

Speaking following the announcement, Cllr Mark Fryer, leader of the Council, said: "While I am bitterly disappointed that the first Small Modular Reactor (SMR) development will not be hosted in Cumberland, the home of the UK’s nuclear industry, I am pleased for Community Nuclear Power (CNP), as a locally-based organisation, that it has finally made a breakthrough in bringing clean nuclear power to the UK, albeit at Teesside, and I wish Paul Foster and his team every success.

"It is important to understand that the announcement at Teesside does not mean that the £6bn Moorside funding is no longer available. CNP has assured us that the Teesside and Moorside funding arrangements are separate and additional.

"So, we still have a chance to bring SMRs to Moorside, with all the additional inward investment that will follow them, if the NDA, Great British Nuclear and the Government agree to make the land available to CNP, or any other prospective developer, for initial survey work."

Paul Foster, Community Nuclear Power’s CEO said: “The bottom line of it is the only land which is suitable enough for these first of a kind reactors (in Cumbria) was at Moorside, but the government said we were unable to use that land.

"They are running a consultation process on how best to use that land, so we have to wait until that process is concluded.”

Mr Foster said that the announcement for the first reactors in Teesside does not mean that Community Power Company would not look at Cumbria as a site for small modular reactors in the future.