I was delighted to host a meeting last week of key individuals and organisations to further the ambitions of bringing the first small modular reactor (SMR) to Copeland.

Joining me at the meeting were representatives of Rolls Royce SMR, the NDA, Sellafield Ltd, Copeland Borough Council, Electricity North West, National Grid, Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, and an official from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Hearing the enthusiasm from all partners on the call to bring Rolls Royce’s new SMR to Copeland was fantastic. 

We agreed to pursue a specific site – of Fellside, on NDA-owned land next to Sellafield – and to pursue the planning application and infrastructure requirements for electricity generation and transmission. 

Rolls Royce SMR have set out their ambitions for the tightest of timescales, to be on the bars by 2029.

It was announced in November 2021 that Rolls Royce SMR will invest £195 million of private funding to develop SMRs, with a further £210 million pledged from the Government.

In March, the project took a further step forward when Rolls Royce SMR’s design entered the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) process with its regulators.

I have been campaigning since I was elected back in 2017 for SMRs to come to Copeland, and my resolve to achieve this is strengthened every day.

Nowhere stands a better chance of success than Copeland. 

That’s because we are one of a handful of suitably, licensed sites, with supportive neighbours at Sellafield and a qualified, experienced workforce across our local supply chain. 

No other council has as much planning experience, over many decades, as Copeland Borough Council and never have we needed UK energy security more than today.

The next step is a formal proposal to Government to put forward my case for the first Rolls-Royce 470MW SMR power station to be sited at Fellside.