Deal paves way for new £10bn nuclear reactors in Cumbria
Last updated at 14:16, Monday, 30 June 2014
The drive to create a nuclear power plant worth more than £10bn and 21,000 jobs to west Cumbria today took a major step forward.
Japanese industrial giant Toshiba has acquired a controlling stake in NuGen, the consortium which is behind plans to build three reactors at Moorside, Sellafield.
The agreement sees Toshiba secure a 60 per cent stake and GDF SUEZ retaining a 40 per cent holding in NuGen.
Today’s news comes after NuGen recently reached an agreement to acquire the Moorside site from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.
A final decision on whether NuGen will proceed with the project – of what would be the largest, single proposed nuclear power plant construction project in Europe – is not expected until 2018 but it is forecast that its three planned reactors could be operational by 2024.
NuGen will now focus on completing a broad range of preparatory works, including regulatory, permitting and commercial activities.
Their emphasis will be on site investigations, preliminary studies for site layouts and consultations with interested parties.
Hisao Tanaka, president and chief executive of the Toshiba Corporation, said: “We welcome the closing of the contract, which reconfirms Toshiba’s, GDF SUEZ’s and Westinghouse’s commitment to build three AP1000 reactors at Moorside.
“We are confident this project will support the UK in meeting the challenges of securing a stable, affordable future energy supply and cutting CO2 emissions.”
Copeland MP Jamie Reed was among the first to welcome this morning’s announcement.
He said: “It is extremely exciting. Our local economic future is incredibly bright. Look at the projections here: the biggest ever private sector investment in our history, up to 21,000 new jobs and this is alongside the ongoing hospital development, an investment in excess of £100m, the ongoing project for the £35m new school campus in Whitehaven, the £25m new office developments in Whitehaven town centre and other town centre development projects.
“I don’t believe that there is another area of comparable size in the United Kingdom set to receive the sheer scale of economic investment that we are in west Cumbria – and every penny has been hard won.”
Mr Reed added: “NuGen has rightly called our area Britain’s nuclear heartland, and we are about to commence Europe’s biggest new nuclear project.
“None of this has happened by accident, but close to a decade of work is beginning to pay off: we are beginning to turn the corner, we are building a new west Cumbria.”
Coun David Southward, Cumbria County Council's Cabinet member responsible for nuclear issues, said it was another positive move.
“The scale of the contribution that Cumbria is set to make in securing a low-carbon future for the UK's energy supply is massive. This site will be a powerhouse for UK plc and also a huge engine of growth for the Cumbrian economy, which is already the home of Britain’s nuclear skills and expertise.
"There’s a massive amount of work to do, but it is amazing to think that in 10 years time Moorside could be delivering power to the nation’s homes.
It is anticipated the proposed power station could produce enough energy to power six million homes, meeting seven percent of the UK’s projected electricity requirements.
Each reactor would take about four years to build.
First published at 08:28, Monday, 30 June 2014
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
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