Key figures in Cumbria and the national nuclear industry have been responding positively to the news that the Moorside power plant in Cumbria has a preferred bidder.

Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) emerged from what it described as a “fierce international competition” to win the status for NuGen, the consortium behind a new £15bn nuclear power plant that, once

complete, would generate seven per cent of the UK’s energy needs.

Speaking exclusively to in-Cumbria earlier this week, NuGen chief executive Tom Samson, described the award made by current NuGen shareholder Toshiba, as a “key milestone” to cementing Cumbria’s status as a world leader in nuclear.

While there are several steps to go, including agreement between Toshiba, Kepco, the UK and Korean governments, Kepco said it was confident a deal would be finalised early next year.

The Moorside development is expected to bring a major boost to the Cumbria economy.

The construction

workforce is expected to peak at 6,500 while 1,000 full time employees with work at the site, once running.

Britain’s Energy Coast Business Cluster (BECBC) welcomed the progress and said its members were ideally placed to support the project.

Ivan Baldwin, BECBC chairman, who also works for the National Nuclear Laboratory, said: "BECBC is hugely supportive of a new nuclear power station at Moorside and we know that our member companies and communities will welcome new overseas investors, developers and future operators.

“We hope the announcement is the beginning of a process that will result in a clear deal and timeline.

“Our member companies include highly qualified and experienced nuclear suppliers as well as key facilities such as the Dalton Nuclear Institute and National Nuclear Laboratory so the local supply chain for any new development is already strong.

“We’re well placed to do a great job in supporting NuGen and its investors in creating a new nuclear power station here in Cumbria.”

Graham Haywood, director of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, said the organisation had been working closely with NuGen over a number of years to help support the Moorside project.

He said activities had ranged from business support and strengthening local supply chains, to skills development and lobbying for investment in key road and rail infrastructure projects including Whitehaven relief road and Cumbria coast line upgrade.

He said: “Moorside will make a major contribution to Cumbria’s economy.

“It will not only provide significant economic benefits during the construction phase, but it is also a much longer term commitment that will create jobs, secure employment and increase local supply chain opportunities over the next 30-40 years.

“It’s a priority for the LEP to ensure that when Moorside is built, it brings a wider legacy of benefits for communities across Cumbria. With secure investment, the project can move forward.”

Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, said: “This is an important step towards ensuring the UK has the low carbon generation capacity required to meet our power demands for the future. West Cumbria has a long-established and highly-skilled nuclear workforce in an industry which contributes £4.3bn to the North West economy.

"This is a real opportunity for new, secure, reliable and clean power which will add to that economic footprint.”