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Awards 2024
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One STEP backwards three steps forwards?

Following the recent news that Cumbria has not been successful in the bid for the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) Project, it would be easy to be downtrodden about Cumbria's future in energy production but I'd like to make a case for optimism.

There's a saying that when one door shuts another one opens and as someone who is always keen to see the positives there is a real benefit to Cumbria not winning this bid. STEP will not be developed until 2040 and, if we'd been successful, this would have meant no development could have taken place on the site designated for this project.

Taking into account the number of potential uses for the Cumbria site which could be developed much earlier than 2040 I'd suggest we should see this as an opportunity to double down on promoting the potential for new nuclear, whether SMR or large-scale reactor. With a willing community, suitable land and a strong, capable supply chain, Cumbria should be at the forefront of developers minds for siting new nuclear.

We should also take into account that the expertise and capability held in the nuclear sector here in Cumbria will be needed to help deliver wherever nuclear sites are placed.

The energy security and net zero agendas are not going away and visitors to Cumbria are often surprised by the capacity and collaboration they see as they tour what can be described as some of the nation’s most skilled and agile supply chain companies.

The potential for a bright future is there. We need to shout about the strengths of Cumbria as conversations are held in Whitehall and Westminster. Our commitment is to be part of those conversations where possible and lead them where appropriate. Are you with us?

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