New lab approved as part of £2bn regeneration plan for West Cumbria
The government has given the go-ahead to a National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) as part of its strategy to push ahead with new nuclear development in the UK.
The body will be an “international centre of excellence” in nuclear research and play a “vital role” in decommissioning and new build, it said.
Business secretary John Hutton made the announcement during a speech at Sellafield to launch the West Cumbria Masterplan, a £2bn project that aims to turn the area into an “energy coast”, creating 16,000 jobs and boosting the economy.
As well as the nuclear centre, the regeneration will include more money for schools, an acute hospital and a transport upgrade.
Hutton said: “It is now clear nuclear power will need to continue to play a crucial role in our low-carbon future. The creation of the NNL will safeguard the UK's high-tech nuclear expertise, facilities and skills.
“To secure our future energy needs, we will need thousands of skilled men and women across the UK to take advantage of the 100,000 jobs new nuclear could bring to the UK.”
The organisation will be formed from research company Nexia Solutions and Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) facilities, including the Sellafield Technology Centre.
The government said it will appoint a commercial operator to run the organisation by next spring.