NuGen has signed a land contract for the Moorside site with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), paving the way for the creation of three new nuclear reactors in west Cumbria.
The nuclear new-build developer, which is a joint venture between Toshiba and ENGIE, said that its board approved the land contract signing at a meeting in Tokyo and the company is now confident that the location is suitable for construction of three AP1000 reactors.
The signing follows successful completion of site suitability studies at Moorside by NuGen, which validate the site to the north and west of the Sellafield complex as being appropriate for the development.
NuGen chief executive Tom Samson signed the land deal with the NDA’s chief executive John Clarke. NuGen will now take responsibility for the land following payment of an undisclosed sum to the NDA.
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.”
“This is great news for the North West, and particularly for West Cumbria, the UK’s nuclear heartland. We are delighted to be taking forward Moorside, a massive development which will supply some 7 per cent of the UK’s future electricity.”
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, whilst delivering excellent value for money for the taxpayer and the national economy.”
Energy minister Andrea Leadsom said: “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.
“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.”
Site characterisation studies will continue at Moorside in the autumn of 2015 and will then feed in to detailed planning and site layout work.