Renewed hopes of a major new nuclear project are being welcomed as a chance to put the county at the centre of the global atomic industry.

At the beginning of July, the newly formed Moorside Consortium made up of French energy firm EDF and a number of partners announced it hoped to build two EPR-type nuclear reactors in West Cumbria - the same type of reactor being constructed at Hinkley Point C, in Somerset, and proposed for Sizewell C, in Suffolk.

They would form part of the Moorside Clean Energy Hub on land adjacent to Sellafield.

It is also hoped the hub will attract the development of small modular reactors, such as those being worked on by the UK SMR Consortium led by Rolls-Royce.

Copeland Borough Council, in which Moorside sits, and Cumbria’s Local Enterprise Partnership have been approached by both consortia which are expressing an interest in the site.

This could create employment in the ongoing operation and maintenance of the power station, for those involved in its supply chain and during the initial spike in construction jobs.

Ivan Baldwin is chair of Britain’s Energy Coast Business Cluster, an organisation made up of 300 member businesses, which is focused on promoting and supporting those in the energy sector in the county.

The organisation is not a member of the EDF consortium, but has been consulting with those involved.

“I guess one best way of describing it is that they’ve had conversations and have started some early thinking building an offer to Number 10 that’s centred around the economic benefits of a cluster around nuclear technology,” says Ivan.

“These are the economic benefits in actually building the infrastructure around that but also the economic benefits of clean energy and nuclear at scale.”

Ivan says BECBC is focused on making sure Cumbria reaps the benefits of any future projects, including by creating green collar jobs and fulfilling Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s promise of “levelling up” prosperity in the north and the south.

“How can supply chains be more agile to be a part of that supply chain, particularly when you’ve got the Rolls-Royce opportunity because that’s about factory build and it’s about delivering to a global supply chain,” he says.

“You look at the example of offshore wind and the sort of narrative you hear is that the UK’s a leader in offshore wind. What actually is the case is that the UK’s a leader in installing somebody else’s technology. The Danes did incredibly well with that and they were the first movers and really got behind the technology and have created a huge export opportunity.”