“UPBEAT” talks were held between representatives of Copeland’s nuclear fusion bid and Westminster heavyweights, just days before lobbying closes on the competition to host the ground-breaking technology.

Representatives of Copeland Borough Council and Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership visited the House of Commons on Tuesday, staking their claim to a prototype nuclear fusion reactor from STEP.

Moorside, a site neighbouring Sellafield, is shortlisted in the final five of the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s competition to site the cutting-edge reactor.

The council’s nuclear and corporate services portfolio holder, David Moore was in attendance at the Parliamentary reception, as a key campaigner for development at Moorside.

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Councillor Moore told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that last week’s talks were “upbeat” about the possibility of fusion at Moorside.

“We got the opportunity to present to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy officials as well as politicians down there.

“The feeling was positive, I think they certainly recognise what we bring to the bid.”

It was the last opportunity for supporters of Copeland’s campaign to explain why Moorside is the best place to trial the UK’s first fusion reactor.

Cllr Moore said: “We’re going through these last few months very optimistic, my understanding is the UKAE have submitted their final case on the five sites to the Secretary of State.”

The final decision on which of the five sites should host the prototype reactor rests with business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng MP.

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The successful site will demonstrate fusion as a commercially viable method of producing clean energy.

In their pitch, representatives from Cumbria explained that the STEP Tokamak reactor would provide a welcome boost to the economy, taking advantage of the clean energy and nuclear skills already on offer.

“We’ve got that really skilled workforce that’s available up here, we’re developing the Industrial Solutions Hub, there’s massive expertise around here. Should we get fusion, that would bring a whole new supply chain.”

The Industrial Solutions Hub is a project to make Copeland the go-to for clean energy expertise and nuclear skills.

It is designed to reduce West Cumbria’s reliance on the Sellafield nuclear decommissioning site for jobs.

Cllr Moore said that the importance of projects like the fusion reactor and the ISH was brought into perspective this week following the news that the Magnox reprocessing plant at Sellafield is winding down.

“The time scales of fusion work nicely for us, as Sellafield is ramping down they’ll be wanting to ramp up.

“With the fusion, we’re going to get a decision this year and initial site works would happen quite quickly, we’d have the new project coming on alongside it.”