West Cumbria showcased its unique nuclear expertise, skilled workforce and capability at a meeting with multi-national engineering company Rolls-Royce.
Rolls-Royce is leading a consortium to build small nuclear reactors (SMR) following an £18million Government investment which will help to develop the design of the reactors.
Copeland MP Trudy Harrison was joined by a leading team at the event held yesterday (Thursday) at Westlakes Science Park including representatives from Shepley Engineering, Britain’s Energy Coast, Wood, Copeland Council, TSP Engineering and Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership.
Alan Woods, director of strategy and business development for Rolls-Royce, told the team about the cutting edge plans and the opportunities on offer in the manufacturing of the reactors and the potential for siting them in Copeland.
He said: “West Cumbria is recognised as being a world-class centre of nuclear expertise and the breadth of attendees showed why that’s the case.
“Our small modular power station’s affordable, flexible and investable design can help contribute to this community’s bright future, just as it can across the north of England, Wales then to other nations around the world who wish to decarbonise heat and power, and tackle climate change.”
Mr Woods said nuclear was key to achieve the levels of electric power needed for decarbonisation. He said the consortium needed the expertise of others to help develop the reactors and is planning to hold a supply chain conference.
The scale of the reactor is about the size of 1.5 football pitches, they would be built in factories and then transported to required sites.
The Copeland MP and Copeland Council will lobby Government to push for SMRs in Copeland and also to help make the process as easy as possible.
Mrs Harrison said: “We want nuclear to be the clean energy of the future to meet our target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. We have got everything on our doorstep here to push forward with SMRs – the expertise, the skills, the knowledge and the capability. The meeting was hugely productive in how West Cumbria moves forward with SMRs.”
Coun David Moore said: “We recognise that Copeland is at the heart of nuclear and we need to understand what the requirements are for possible sites in Copeland to be able to accommodate new SMR reactors. But we also need to understand what is required for manufacture because West Cumbria is one of the places in the UK that could be involved in the manufacture.”
The Government’s Energy White Paper is expected next month and Boris Johnson has supported calls for a nuclear renaissance, saying in Parliament: “It is time for a nuclear renaissance and I believe passionately that nuclear must be part of our energy mix.”