EXCLUSIVE: Ground-breaking nuclear reactors set to be built in Workington
The next generation of ground-breaking nuclear power will be created in Cumbria at a new multi-million-pound facility, creating 750 jobs.
Cumbria Crack can exclusively reveal that the county’s TSP Engineering will start building small modular reactors soon – with the first rolling off the production lines in 2027, following approval by the Government and nuclear watchdog.
TSP Engineering has been working on the technology for several years.
Today, it has revealed that its Workington base will become the home of the reactors, known as SMRs, making the town a world leader.
Its technology is called NuCell and TSP chief executive John Coughlan said it would secure and grow employment within Cumbria across all trades, engineering disciplines and support professions.
He added: “This will be a further support to the nuclear supply chain locally and nationally offering a secure growth path for support businesses and services for decades to come.
“This brings building of nuclear reactors home to Cumbria and brings design and manufacture of new nuclear technologies back to Great Britain, making Great Britain the centre of manufacturing of new nuclear technologies in line with the recent government’s aim to bring innovation back, making Great Britain once again a centre for innovative developments.
“This announcement and manufacture of the NuCell reactor will enable Great Britain to develop its own energy supply and become a global leader with the first NuCell reactor units targeted to be manufactured by 2027, allowing TSP and Cumbria to be ahead of the rest of the world.”
TSP Engineering, owned by the British GMET Group, will create the SMRs on a factory production line. The SMRs can then be transported to anywhere in the world to generate ‘clean’ electricity.
The power stations – around the size of two football pitches – can supply electricity to up to a million homes.
Their size and their low cost makes them an attractive option to help countries hit net zero targets. They would replace coal and gas plants globally and could support hydrogen production and district heating schemes.
Mark Jenkinson, Workington MP, said: “This announcement today that the NuCell SMR will be manufactured at TSP in my constituency is fantastic news.
“As a supporter of industry and a strong advocate for new nuclear, I continue to fight hard to support and encourage investment in developments such as this.
“We are fortunate to have a strong supply chain for the nuclear industry in the Workington constituency.
“Manufacturing and design of new nuclear in Cumbria will be another boost to our local skills base – and will help grow jobs and support innovation across the engineering sector in West Cumbria.
“The nuclear industry has its roots firmly established here, and it is great to see that we are building on our strengths and leading the way in innovation.”
Despite being touted as the next big thing in nuclear energy, they have been slow to get off the ground.
Rolls-Royce is probably the most famous developer behind an SMR scheme.
Its SMR design was accepted for review in March, with the Government asking the Office for Nuclear Regulation, with the environment regulators for England and Wales to begin the process.
It is looking at land near Sellafield and bosses visited the site, to the south of the existing nuclear complex, in May. It is also looking for a £200m factory site to build the SMRs.
Carlisle was put on a shortlist of eight areas for the plant, but it was reported in the industry press last month that now only Sunderland, Redcar and Deeside were being considered. The location will be named this year.