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Nuclear new build will save Copeland, says MP

The only way Copeland can survive the brutal budget cuts it faces is by hosting a new underground nuclear waste repository, says MP Jamie Reed.

Jamie Reed photo
Jamie Reed

He told at a public meeting in Whitehaven last night that failing to back nuclear new-build, including the potential major waste disposal facility, would “seal the area’s fate”.

The Labour MP called the meeting to discuss Copeland’s future in the light of government cuts, in which Copeland council must save £2.6 million by 2015.

He told those gathered in the Civic Hall: “We are in a critical time in the history of our area and the cuts will results in massive changes, but we have the chance to shapes these changes.

“Failure to act now will seal our fate and the choices we make need to include three new nuclear reactors (on land just north of Sellafield at Moorside), a new Mox facility at Sellafield, and an underground repository.

“The jobs and community benefits these developments will create are key to our future.”

Copeland, Allerdale and Cumbria county councils will decide early next year whether to proceed to the next stage of the process to explore hosting an underground facility in the area.

“This is the biggest decision they will ever have to make – and it would be a disaster if they vote not to proceed. It would be the single greatest betrayal of our community,” Mr Reed added.

Amid speculation that the county council could vote against proceeding to the next stage, Mr Reed was asked by audience member Stephen Haraldsen if Copeland council could act alone, if the county council opts out.

He replied that it is a “genuine possibility” but wouldn’t be drawn any further.

The meeting also heard concern from residents about the possible closure of facilities by Copeland council to make the necessary savings, including the Civic Hall and The Beacon.

Fourteen-year-old Heather Dempsey said: “Whitehaven’s history and the facilities bring people into town, but there’s nothing for young people and they don’t want to stay here.”

Stuart Armstrong added concern about the lack of sporting facilities.

Mr Reed said: “Cultural and sporting opportunities come as a result of a thriving economy, and we need to get that first. But there are good things happening here; Albion Square in Whitehaven, the new West Cumberland Hospital, the new Cleator Moor health centre – and there will be some good news coming from Sellafield in the next few weeks. Austerity will not beat us. Our best days are ahead of us – if we want them.”

Have your say

I note that no one has mentioned that all the geological surveys have proved that West Cumbria is totally unsuitable for an underground repository for nuclear waste, so why does Copeland Council still want to condemn the Ennerdale Valley and the rest of Cumbria to a contaminated wasteland?

Posted by M B on 3 December 2012 at 10:03

I was at this meeting. To be honest.and speaking as an outsider yes it was hijacked by the nuclear lobby. I sat at the back and watched as various pro nuclear lobby group spokespeople were given preference to speak. They even appeared to have mapped out the seating ro have them every 10 chairs or so. Have to say hats off Jamie i was impressed. But that's just politics these days and just the way it is. What shocks me more is this. That given the obvious huge local concern about the cuts in Copeland the hall was no were near being full. If your concerned or interested in shaping your communities future then do more than just comment on here and think your involved. Oh and by the way Cumbria doesn't start at Whitehaven and stop at Sellafield. That's just the part you can see glowing on a dark night ;)

Posted by Garry on 28 November 2012 at 10:32

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