The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) will nominate Sellafield, Wylfa, Oldbury and Bradwell as potential sites for developing new nuclear power stations to be built 'by 2025'.
The government will call for the submission of potential sites for new nuclear builds on Tuesday as part of its Strategic Siting Assessment (SSA) process, when it will publish the criteria it will use to assess the suitability of sites.
The NDA will put forward Sellafield in West Cumbria, Wylfa on Anglesey, Oldbury in Gloucestershire and Bradwell in Essex.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: "Nuclear is crucial to our low carbon future; it is crucial to our energy security and at the same time it represents a massive opportunity for the UK economy and jobs. Industry are investing billions into the UK economy, jobs are being created and supply chain opportunities are developing.
"The NDA's announcement today on potential new build sites is good news and I am pleased to be here in Sellafield, to welcome this. During construction, each new station would bring as many as 9,000 jobs, create up to 1,000 skilled long-term jobs when operational, and be worth about £2 billion to the surrounding region and wider economy. With such deep-rooted ties to the nuclear industry Sellafield is in a strong position to benefit."
While the NDA will not promote any of the planned new stations, its land would be used. The NDA is currently auctioning the land it intends to nominate. Additional likely sites will include those already being used to generate nuclear power. If sites are approved, new stations will be built in the private sector, driven through using National Policy Statements set out in the new Planning Act.
"Anyone can nominate a site, but nominations either have to be supported by a credible nuclear power operator or nominators have to demonstrate that this is a credible site for deployment by 2025," reads a government statement.
The government estimates that each station could be worth £2bn to the local area around each site, generating 9,000 jobs during construction, with 1000 skilled workers when operational.
Minister of State for Energy Mike O'Brien said: "One year on since this Government took the decision that new nuclear power should have a role to play, we are making rapid progress. The call for potential sites is another key milestone. Of course we know Sellafield is a complex site and issues like grid connections need to be considered. But it is well placed to benefit from the UK's nuclear renaissance; it is home to our nuclear skills, home to our nuclear expertise and home to many of our key facilities. Like all sites, the suitability of Sellafield will be assessed against the government's rigorous siting criteria.
"West Cumbria is already on the map as our Energy Coast. With their management of our nuclear legacy, with their interest in the Geological Disposal Facility, their interest in new nuclear and with their pioneering salt cavern gas storage project in Barrow we know they will continue to be in the future."
New nuclear power seems increasingly likely - EDF's recently bought a controlling interest in British Energy, which operates existing nuclear sites, for £12.5bn.
Liberal Democrat Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Simon Hughes said: "Nuclear power is an outdated and superficial answer to Britain's energy needs. It is dangerous and expensive and it won’t fill the energy gap or help the fight against climate change.
"Britain needs 21st century solutions. The UK is perfectly placed for a rapid and major expansion of renewable power, which is clean, safe, effective and would create huge numbers of jobs.
"Liberal Democrats will not build nuclear power or dirty coal power stations."