Hopes are still high for a nuclear site at Moorside despite the Government delaying the announcement of their energy strategy.

Plans for the Moorside Clean Energy Hub neighbouring the Sellafield site appeared to move a step further last week with the Government holding talks on their energy strategy.

Government has since delayed issuing a White Paper until after the Treasury’s spending review on November 25 and there has been a mixed reaction among those involved.

David Moore, deputy chairman of Copeland Council and key player in the Moorside plansbelieves it may be a good omen.

“The speculation is there will be a commitment to build 18 SMRs, what we’ll be battling for is to be the place they build the first one," he said.

"They will be built around the country but they need to demonstrate it somewhere.”

Interested parties in the facility believe the future beyond Covid-19 could be led by clean energy.

“What the Government can influence is how we come out of this pandemic," Mr Moore added.

A planned facility at Moorside could be a boon for the area and the economy, he said.

“On a sunny day you can get massive power out of solar, with nuclear you can get that 24/7, it’s what they call base load energy."

Mr Moore added that new reactors would need to be “on the grid” within 10 years.

Potential investors like EDF are awaiting a decision on the economic landscape. Mr Moore said: “To get the right result, an extra few weeks is nothing in the nuclear industry.”

However, the GMB union, who have previously backed plans at Moorside have hit out at the Government over the delays.

Justin Bowden GMB National Secretary said: “The Government cannot keep delaying the absolutely vital decisions that need to be made to keep the lights on and business moving.”

“With a Covid-19 induced economic catastrophe coming down the line, now is the time to invest in new nuclear power stations, green manufacturing and low carbon gas to kickstart the economy, create skilled UK jobs and meet our climate targets.

“Ministers must stop stalling and get on with it.”

In a response to Cumbrian MPs’ hopes, Kemi Badenoch, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, said: “While we expect most of our electricity to be generated from low cost renewables such as offshore wind, we will likely also need to complement the system with reliable power sources such as nuclear, carbon capture and storage, and even hydrogen.”

Copeland MP Trudy Harrison said “It’s important to consider all energy – not just nuclear power.

"By 2050 the UK will need in the order of 1,480TWh according to the NIA for electricity, heat and importantly, transportation.

"Our older nuclear power stations will be off-line by 2030 after providing decades of good service.”