Rolls-Royce bosses have heard the case for Copeland to be the home of the first small modular reactors to be built in the UK.

Copeland MP Trudy Harrison chaired a meeting of key officials including Rolls-Royce SMR Ltd chief executive Tom Samson and directors Alan Woods and Alastair Evans in Whitehaven this week at which the joint vision and justification for hosting SMRs in Copeland was outlined to officials from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The meeting heard that Copeland has the required local expertise and skills to manufacture and run the reactors, and a knowledgeable and supportive local council and community.

The first phase of development of the modular reactors has been completed, including design and cost evaluations, with the next stage of applying for regulator approval to begin imminently.

Also in attendance were David Peattie and Martin Chown, chief executives of the NDA and Sellafield Ltd respectively, and Pat Graham and Councillor David Moore, chief executive and deputy mayor of Copeland Council.

Mrs Harrison said: “I am committed to the delivery of a strong nuclear future for Copeland, and bringing SMRs to Copeland is the most important achievable priority for the nuclear sector.

“SMRs will deliver clean, low-carbon, affordable energy and will play a significant role in the Government’s Net Zero ambitions for 2024.

“This community knows more about nuclear power than anywhere else in Europe.

"We have a deep talent pool with a track record of safety and delivering national-significant projects, and I am lobbying strongly for Copeland to be at the forefront of this new and exciting approach to nuclear.”

The meeting took place on the 65th anniversary of the day that Calder Hall – the world’s first nuclear power plant – was connected to the grid.

Mrs Harrison said: “I am proud to be the MP representing the constituency where the world’s first civil nuclear power station was connected to the grid and the benefits that the industry has brought to our workers and communities has been felt ever since – and will be long into the future.”