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Moorside pledge amid Hinkley nuclear plant uncertainty

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Friday, July 29, 2016 at 7:28PM

Nugen, the company behind west Cumbria’s proposed new nuclear power station, has said the project will go forward despite the government’s surprise review of the Hinkley Point project.

The future of the first new nuclear power plant in a generation was thrown into confusion after the government delayed a decision on the project until the autumn.

French energy giant EDF gave the final approval to go ahead with the £18bn project in Somerset but the government said it wanted more time to study the details.

The move stunned the industry and prompted warnings that jobs were at risk. This has prompted some fears that the Cumbrian project, earmarked for Moorside, near Sellafield, could also be at risk.

A spokesman for Nugen said: “Our project is not directly dependent on the outcomes of other projects and NuGen will continue to take forward our Moorside project - irrespective of the status of other developers’ plans.”

He added that Moorside would support the government’s aims to generate energy and reduce carbon emissions.

“Moorside is a stand-alone project. There is no queue to take forward new build projects and we are in regular discussion with the UK government to ensure we move forward with purpose.”

Some firms in Cumbria are hoping they will benefit from the Hinkley project.

One is Bendalls Engineering, based in Kingstown, Carlisle.

Ivan Baldwin, business development director for owners Carr’s Engineering said: “We have been hoping to play a significant part in delivering to Hinkley so a delay or scrapping of the project would have an affect on our growth.”

He added though that the company was involved in other projects.

James Fisher Nuclear, which has operations in Barrow and Egremont, also hopes to be a part of the project.

A spokesman said: “ We are actively seeking work at all nuclear new-build projects and we welcomed the final investment decision from EDF as a step forward.

“We look forward to the final decision following the government’s final review and the commencement of the project in earnest.”

Jamie Reed, the MP for Copeland, said: "A quick review for any new government is understandable, but we have studied this project in depth for years and we need to get on with it - particularly post-Brexit where the predictability and reliability of Britain as an investment partner is under the microscope.

"We need to get on as quickly as possible. The confidence of investors must be safeguarded.

"The case for the project is very clear and it’s an essential part of the UK’s industrial strategy. I'll be making the case to the PM and others to seal the deal but I have already sought assurances from government that Moorside will not be affected by whatever happens at Hinkley. I was the first person to do this and will continue to make the case."

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