CUMBRIA’S ENERGY COAST WELCOMES SELLAFIELD INCLUSION ON NEW NUCLEAR LIST

By Luke Diccio
PARTNERS helping to deliver the Britain’s Energy Coast initiative in Cumbria have expressed delight at the inclusion of land adjacent to Sellafield as a suitable site for a new nuclear power station.

The site is one of eight included in the Government’s Revised Draft National Policy Statement for Nuclear Power Generation. Nominations submitted by RWE npower for land at Braystones and Kirksanton have not been included in the list, published by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

The nomination of the Sellafield site is a key plank of the Britain’s Energy Coast initiative – which aims to establish West Cumbria and Furness as a nationally significant generator of low carbon and renewable energy. The nomination was led by regeneration body Britain’s Energy Coast West Cumbria, working alongside partners such as Invest in Cumbria, making it the only nomination made by an area partnership rather than a utility company. Partners include

Last year a consortium comprising Iberdrola, GDF SUEZ and Scottish & Southern Energy bought the site from owners, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, with the aim of starting construction of a new power station in around 2015.

Brian Wilson, former Government energy minister and Chair of Britain’s Energy Coast West Cumbria, said: “The inclusion of the site next to Sellafield in this latest list is great news for the Energy Coast initiative. In leading the nomination for the site we have always been confident of the suitability of the site to host at least one, if not more, reactors. Given our world-class workforce and extensive supply chain West Cumbria should be part of Britain’s nuclear renaissance. We are now hopeful decisions remain within set timescales allowing construction to start as soon as possible so a new power station to be generating energy by 2025.”

Doubts about the ability of the Kirksanton and Braystones sites to contribute to new nuclear capacity before 2025 and concerns about the visual impact on the Lake District National Park were cited by DECC as the major reasons for them failing to make the revised list.

Commenting on this, Mr Wilson added: “The crucial thing is that West Cumbria has a nominated site in this new list, and we must now concentrate all our efforts on ensuring that our hopes are turned into reality at the Sellafield site.  The decision to drop the other two does not come as a surprise. It was clear the communities in Braystones and Kirksanton were opposed to new build near their villages and the decision to remove them will bring great relief. It also demonstrates the tough challenge we face in balancing the nation’s need for energy and Cumbria’s need to build a sustainable economy, with the need to protect our world-renowned landscape.”

Cllr Tony Markley, Cumbria County Council’s cabinet member responsible for economic regeneration and Chair of Invest in Cumbria, said: “The nuclear industry plays a vital part in West Cumbria’s economy and this latest announcement means that Sellafield is still in the right position to be a linchpin in the Government’s future strategy for energy delivery. As the decommissioning of the existing Sellafield site begins to gather pace, Cumbria needs to capitalise on the opportunities arising from the shift towards creating a low carbon economy which spans nuclear, fossil fuel carbon capture and renewable technologies. Cumbria boasts the workforce and natural resources to play a major role, bringing with it countless opportunities for businesses and inward investors.”

A new round of consultation led by DECC will close on Monday, January 24 2011, with the aim of finalising the list, subject to consultation and Parliamentary scrutiny, in Spring 2011. More information on the consultation can be found at www.energynpsconsultation.decc.gov.uk.

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