Cumbria County Council's cabinet has backed plans for a new £10bn nuclear power station in West Cumbria, but demanded investment in the county’s roads and infrastructure in return, to deal with 'significant traffic increases'.
The Moorside Project from NuGen, a joint venture nuclear company between Toshiba and ENGIE (formerly GDF SUEZ), aims to build a nuclear power station to the north and west of the Sellafield site in West Cumbria.
The first of three planned reactors is due to be operational in 2024.
Stewart Young, leader of Cumbria CC said: ‘While we are broadly supportive, this project will require significant additional investment to secure the right infrastructure to support the construction of Moorside and its three new nuclear reactors.
Image from NuGen
‘The sheer scale of this nuclear project is unprecedented for Cumbria and in fact unprecedented for the UK. To ensure that everyone benefits we need a guarantee from Government or NuGen, or both of extensive additional investment into services like the county’s infrastructure (roads, railways and ports), accommodation for the workforce, and the development of skills to ensure that as many jobs as possible are taken by Cumbrians.
‘Following submission of our formal response we will then be looking to NuGen, and the Government, to ensure that robust plans are put in place to guarantee that this development results in a clear and lasting legacy for Cumbria – plans that will see Cumbrian communities benefit from this nuclear new build for many generations to come.’
The planning decision for Moorside will ultimately rest with the communities secretary and the Planning Inspectorate as it has been designated a nationally significant infrastructure project (NSIP).
Cumbria CC as one of the two ‘host authorities’, along with Copeland Borough Council, is a statutory consultee in the planning process.
The formal consultation process ends on 30 July 2016.
NuGen’s transport strategy:
• St. Bees Railway - extension to the existing St Bees Loop further south by approximately 285m in length - required to ensure that one NuGen charter train is able to stop within the extended loop, while another NuGen charter train or scheduled train passes through St Bees.
• Corkickle to Mirehouse Railway - a new ‘loop’ comprising of a new section of rail track laid alongside the existing track between Corkickle and Mirehouse. The new track would be approximately 3.2km in length, with dedicated Moorside worker rail platforms at Corkickle and Mirehouse and proposed public platform at Mirehouse.
While NuGen’s transport strategy is sea and railfocused, the Moorside Project will have an effect on the road network. NuGen intends to manage this as far as possible to utilise off-peak capacity, but has, at this time, identified the potential for road improvements at a range of locations including potential widening schemes for the A595 / A66 Roundabout, Cockermouth, A66 Ramsay Brow, Workington and A596 Hall Brow, Workington.
Port of Workington
There is the potential for NuGen to utilise the Port of Workington for Sea / Rail / Road logistics facilities, for storage, consolidation and sequencing of deliveries, and with the option for development of additional port side facilities, if required. This remains under consideration with NuGen in discussions with the Port of Workington.