A petition to save the Moorside nuclear plant vision is picking up pace as Sellafield trade unions get behind the campaign to call on the government to financially invest in the project.

Hopes for a £15 billion nuclear power station were left in ruins when Japanese engineering giant Toshiba decided to pull the plug after it failed to secure a buyer for its developer subsidiary NuGen.

It was a decision that dealt a body blow to plans for Cumbria’s financial future, with mass investment across Cumbria hanging on the project’s success.

Tony Lywood, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Copeland, set up a petition demanding the Government financially supports the Moorside project.

Almost a thousand people have signed the petition since it was created last month and all three Sellafield trade unions - Unite, GMB and Prospect - have pledged their support for the campaign.

Mr Lywood said the aim is to reach 10,000 signatures and force the government to respond formally to the demand to take a financial stake in Moorside. 

He said: “The Conservative government is failing the people of Copeland and it needs to act fast, now, before it is too late instead of holding their hands up and refusing to take responsibility.
“No nuclear power station anywhere in the world has been built without Government support. This is absolutely not just a commercial decision.”

GMB site convener Joe Murdock has voiced his support for the petition and said: “I urge all GMB members, their families, and the wider community to sign it as well. We must pressure the government to financially support Moorside.”

Mr Murdock stands alongside Sellafield unions Unite and Prospect.

Unite Sellafield branch’s Nick Jeffrey said: “Without the Government showing financial support, other potential backers will not come forward.  It is imperative that we get as many people to sign this petition as possible.”

Steve Nicholson, NEC member, said: “I endorse the petition on Moorside as it is critical for the UK’s energy supply as demand increases going into the 2020s.

"The government must take a stake in this national infrastructure project, to give possible private investors the confidence that it will go ahead.

"It is vital for the West Cumbrian community which has supported the nuclear industry for decade upon decade. Moorside will create up to 21,000 new jobs and the tax alone over the construction phases, would place billions of pounds into the treasury. It’s a win win situation, the Government must invest.”

Copeland MP Trudy Harrison has also been working to find a solution and said saving the station was her “top priority”.

Mrs Harrison added: “I have set up the Moorside Strategic Partnership to include cross-party Cumbrian MPs, Copeland’s mayor and senior leadership team along with Government officials.

“The global uncertainty around nuclear is having a knock-on effect, but as Copeland was the first to develop civil nuclear we have more than 60 years of world-leading capability which I am determined will play a part in the solution.

“Currently we are exploring a number of options including a small modular reactor potential and alternative developers to Toshiba.

“It is of huge personal disappointment that we do not have a British company to turn to; that needs to change.”

View the petition at www.petition.parliament.uk/petitions/234444