'CREAKING' roads and railways in West Cumbria could prove an obstacle to new nuclear plans, according to a Labour councillor but the Local Authority's portfolio holder said that these issues have been accounted for.

Copeland councillor and member of the Strategic Nuclear and Energy Board, Joseph Ghayouba is concerned that West Cumbria does not have the infrastructure to deliver on plans for clean energy projects.

Copeland is in the running for a STEP prototype nuclear fusion reactor as well as Small Modular Reactors from Rolls Royce - which will produce clean energy as the UK looks to reduce carbon emissions to net zero.

The Labour councillor of Whitehaven Central said: "You're going to be looking at construction to go along with that, the construction workers tend to be from far and wide which is great for the town."

But he said: "When you look at Hinkley Point, 10,000 workers were shipped in for that project, that's basically an additional Sellafield. You're looking at a lot of people coming into the area and the only infrastructure is the A595 or a pacer train."

Cllr Ghayouba said: "When you're bidding for these things, one of the things they're looking at is the quality of infrastructure.

"You can't build them on what we've got now, it needs improvement. We just need more investment in transport and infrastructure to make us more competitive for bids."

He pointed out that the Sellafield site is ramping up in terms of decommissioning.

Copeland Borough Council's Portfolio Holder for Nuclear and Corporate Services said: "There has to be improvements with all of these nuclear projects that come along.

"This would all be part of any bid package, it's recognised within the STEP development programme. Should that STEP come forward, it's clear within the bid, any area doing that would require improvements.

"The infrastructure would come forward with the bid, it's a bit like the chicken and the egg."

Cllr Moore does not believe regions that are more connected will have a better chance in the bidding process.

"It's the same for wherever these projects take place, they'll all require infrastructure upgrades. I don't think it puts us on the back foot at all, I think the playing field is fairly level."

Cllr Moore acknowledged that rail services in Cumbria are in need of improvement.

"There'll probably be a requirement of improvement of rail regardless of what happens to nuclear."

He said that it stands in Cumbria's favour that it is a nuclear savvy community.

"We know what we need and those were identified in the Nugen process."

Before interest to site modular reactors there, the Moorside site neighbouring Sellafield was in the running for new nuclear from Nugen. It was unsuccessful in the bidding process.

"It identified those areas of the A595 that would require an upgrade."