Plans to build a nuclear power station in Cumbria have moved another step closer with a critical land deal.
NuGen signed a contract to buy the site of the proposed Moorside facility with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.
The deal follows validation of the site – just north-west of the existing Sellafield complex – as suitable for construction of three nuclear reactors.
The first reactor could be operational in 2024. When the plant is fully operational, it will have a capacity of 3.4GW, equivalent to 7% of the UK’s electricity demand.
NuGen chief executive Tom Samson said: “This is a key moment in our Moorside project journey.
“Our board has reached a decision of significance which confirms Moorside is suitable, against criteria at this stage of the development.
“NuGen, our vendors and our expert partners are all confident we can build three reactors on the site.”
NDA chief executive John Clarke added: “The completion of this stage of the land sale brings a range of benefits both nationally and locally.
“It supports the initiative to have West Cumbria recognised as a centre of nuclear excellence, building on over six decades of nuclear expertise in the area, while delivering excellent value for money for the taxpayer and the national economy.”
Energy minister Andrea Leadsom welcomed the deal as part of efforts to create a Northern powerhouse.
“Backing the next generation of nuclear projects is a key part of our long-term plan to power the economy with clean, secure energy and keep bills as low as possible for hardworking families and businesses,” she said.
“We want the recovery to benefit all parts of our country, and Moorside will be a major infrastructure project that creates jobs and economic security for thousands of people and helps to deliver the Northern powerhouse.”