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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

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Plans for £10bn reactor in Cumbria get 'positive response'

The group hoping to build a new nuclear reactor in west Cumbria say the responses to its plans have been “almost universally positive”.

NuGen has put forward proposals to construct the £10bn facility – described as Europe’s largest nuclear project – at Moorside, near the existing nuclear plant at Sellafield.

Details of the firm’s positive response have come following a petition from protest group Radiation Free Lakeland, which opposes the proposals.

It has called on the Government to scrap the plans and is running a petition against them which has attracted almost 4,000 signatures.

A statement on the group’s website said: “The area around the Sellafield site should be an untouchable buffer zone to provide a measure of safety for surrounding towns and villages, to accommodate the documented leakage of radiation from the Sellafield site into groundwater and to minimise the target area for terrorist attack, instead of doubling it.”

They are also critical of NuGen, which is a consortium part-owned by Japanese giants Toshiba.

The group has claimed the multinational was a supplier to the Fukushima plant in Japan, which suffered a six-reactor meltdown in 2011.

However, a spokeswoman for NuGen told the News & Star it had received an enthusiastic reception to its plans.

She said: “The Cumbrian community has embraced the nuclear industry and the benefits it brings.

“We have been overwhelmed by the almost universally positive response to the development of a project which will bring major investment to west Cumbria.”

She added: “Three areas in west Cumbria have recently been identified in the top 10 places to live in England poll and that is, in no small part, as a result of the significant numbers of well-paid and healthy workers the nuclear industry supports in our region, which in turn boosts the local tourism industry.

“This development will build on the existing west Cumbrian centre of nuclear excellence, of which the community is rightly proud. It will bring thousands more highly-skilled jobs and much needed low-carbon electricity.”

NuGen plan to return to the site to assess its suitability soon and if the site is deemed suitable, hope to secure permission and licensing in 2018, allowing construction to begin by 2020.

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