In response to the Government's publication of its Energy White Paper, the following statement is made by Councillor David Moore, Copeland Council's Portfolio Holder for Nuclear and Corporate Services:
"Copeland Borough Council welcomes the Government’s Energy White Paper, which makes a strong commitment to turn the UK’s climate ambitions into climate action, through the delivery of the UK’s future clean energy system.
"None of the energy infrastructure that will provide the UK’s low carbon power in 2050 exists now, demand could increase by as much as double that of today, and many of the technologies that are essential to meeting that demand sustainably are not yet developed.
"The energy system of the future will be a balanced one of large, small and advanced nuclear fission, fusion and renewables, generating low carbon electricity, plus cogeneration of industrial and domestic heat, hydrogen and other low carbon fuels for aviation and shipping.
"With around 11,000 days to 2050, Copeland is the place to accelerate development and deployment of these clean energy technologies. Our supply chain capability, skills and sites within a supportive community provide the perfect environment to rapidly develop and deploy advanced nuclear technologies including small and advanced modular reactors, high temperature gas-cooled reactors, medical isotope production, space propulsion systems and fusion power.
"We are working with the UK SMR consortium, to support an accelerated deployment of this UK technology near Sellafield, for cogeneration of low carbon hydrogen and synthetic e-fuels for aviation – trailblazing the way towards Jet Zero.
"We are already home to one of the world’s largest offshore wind farms, and this contribution is set to grow as a result of leasing Round 4. This provides real opportunity to use low carbon wind and nuclear power to transition from fossil fuels, to a hydrogen economy for Cumbria and the North West.
"Over 70 years, Copeland has seen the design, operation and decommissioning of three first of a kind reactors, including the first Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor at Windscale, paving the way for the UK’s current nuclear fleet, which continues to provide vast quantities of reliable, low-carbon power.
"We have grown generations of globally-recognised experts in nuclear plant operations, design, engineering, construction management, material science, decommissioning, research and development. We have a nuclear knowledge economy that encompasses the majority of the nuclear life cycle – from generation, reactor operation support, fuel fabrication and reprocessing, to waste management and decommissioning. Our people are the driving force of the UK’s nuclear sector, and our training institutions are growing the nuclear workforce of the future.
"The Cumbria Nuclear Prospectus sets out how we will build on our industrial heritage and world-leading science and innovation to drive rapid, deep decarbonisation, creating high-skilled, high-paid green jobs for the future, levelling up the UK economy and making the UK a world-leader in clean technologies. This is our plan to Energise the Energy Coast: decarbonising heat, power and transport, and driving Clean Growth as we head towards Net Zero by 2050.
"We truly welcome the Energy White Paper, which represents a significant investment into the UK’s industrial regions including our Centre of Nuclear Excellence in West Cumbria. This will provide important stimulus to the economy helping to accelerate recovery, and will give confidence to supply chain businesses to invest in the people, capability and infrastructure needed to deliver the UK’s future low carbon energy infrastructure.