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Monday, 22 December 2014

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1,000 permanent jobs if new nuclear reactors go-ahead in west Cumbria

Hopes that a nuclear power station will be built at Sellafield, delivering thousands of new jobs, have taken a giant step forward.

Nuclear reactor graphic
Artist's impression of the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor

The US nuclear company Westinghouse has unveiled firm plans to build three of its AP1000 reactors on land at Moorside, Sellafield, with the first due to come on stream in 2024.

The project is potentially worth £5bn and would be the biggest ever private-sector investment in west Cumbria.

Westinghouse expects 6,000 jobs to be created during the construction phase plus 1,000 permanent jobs once the reactors are finished and further employment every time one is refuelled. Westinghouse Springfields, a fuel manufacturing facility near Preston, would make the fuel.

When all three reactors are operational they would supply seven per cent of the UK’s electricity - more than all the wind turbines in the country put together.

The announcement follows the decision of Westinghouse’s parent company, Toshiba, to buy into the NuGen consortium that has an option to develop Moorside.

Toshiba is acquiring the 50 per cent stake of Spanish energy company Iberdrola and part of the stake owned by the French energy company GDF Suez, giving it a 60 per cent holding in NuGen.

NuGen had previously said it was carrying out site investigations to see if Moorside was suitable for reactor development and that it would decide next year whether to proceed.

Westinghouse says the final decision will come in 2018 but the answer is likely to be ‘yes’.

Simon Marshall, the company’s UK project director for new build, said: “The site investigations have not yet been completed but the work done has given us confidence to go ahead and buy a majority stake in NuGen.”

Hurdles still to overcome include securing planning consent and a connection to the National Grid.

Construction of the reactors would start in 2020.

Moorside would be the first British nuclear power station built to Westinghouse’s AP1000 design, which has so far been adopted only in China and the USA with Bulgaria set to follow.

The company’s statement, issued from its Pittsburgh HQ, says: “The agreement provides that three Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear reactors, with a combined capacity of 3.4 gigawatts, will be built on the UK site.”

Copeland MP Jamie Reed said it was extremely welcome and exciting news.

“This benefits us in a number of ways. West Cumbria is now in a position whereby we could become the European beach-head for Toshiba/ Westinghouse and this means that success of the Moorside project is of mutual importance to the community and the companies involved.

“This kind of ‘skin in the game’ is precisely what we need and what local partners have repeatedly called for and should form the basis of a truly rewarding partnership.”

Have your say

@ Marianne (of no hidden agenda?)
Tell me your joking, "not enough water in Cumbria."
Last time I looked out of my window there was approx Kilolitre x 2800 of water in the Irish sea. I think that is plenty enough water not with standing the links to the Atlantic Ocean etc.
The scare tactics of various groups and individuals in these posts are just that. The Fukushima disaster was a combination of natural events of which only one is slightly possible at Selafield and the other impossible not enough water in the Irish sea and Ireland blocking any tsunami to their west coast.
Chernobyl started as the result of an experiment scheduled to test a potential safety emergency core cooling feature which went drastically wrong. Protection of sites is always taken into account. A magnitude 4.9(Mw) being the highest in Cumbria/Cumberland ( a magnitude 9.0 (Mw) Fukushima)a huge difference.
Nuclear power is one of the safest forms of energy available, the high cost of build eventually results in low cost electricity.
Google fly ash and check out the health and safety issues there, fly ash is even used in bricks in lots of houses.
Fossil fueled power stations are major emitters of CO2, a greenhouse gas (GHG) which according to a consensus opinion of scientific organisations is a contributor to global warming as it has been observed over the last 100 years. Brown coal emits about 3 times as much CO2 as natural gas, and black coal emits about twice as much CO2 per unit of electric energy. (wiki)
France has had very cheap electricity since the 70s due to nuclear power, mean while we have quite high prices.

Posted by edd on 29 January 2014 at 11:03

It's a complete shame that the powers that be have decided to go down this route in selecting this type of reactor. Far better that they had opted to use the liquid fluoride thorium reactor as it's far and away more environmentally friendly than this version of the reactor from 3 Mile Island.
Once again, we will see huge amounts of highly radioactive isotopes being stored in ponds, with all the problems that has created over the years with existing spent fuels.
It seems as though we have learned no lessons from history at all and continue to go down the road of making weapons grade materials in our nuclear power plants, even though a more abundant and safer fuel is readily available.
Read, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquid_fluoride_thorium_reactor
When will we get out of this mindset of making weapons and start doing something cheaper, safer and more peaceful?
My thanks to all concerned in making this daft decision, in leaving a legacy for the many generations to come.

Posted by Pete M on 27 January 2014 at 19:58

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