THE development of advanced new nuclear reactors will create 40,000 jobs for people across England and support people from all sectors, not just nuclear.

Copeland is preparing to introduce new Rolls-Royce small modular reactors (SMRs) to the region, and a new company, Solway Community Power Company, was launched yesterday to push the project forward.

An event was held yesterday (November 10) to introduce the new company and explain how they will get the development of the reactors underway.

Trudy Harrison, Copeland MP, reiterated that Copeland is a 'centre of nuclear excellence' and that nuclear is 'the logical answer' to the challenges we face now.

Ms Harrison said: "The Government has now realised, that whatever the problem is, nuclear is the answer - and that the site adjacent to Sellafield will be home to that."

Ms Harrison continued: "I have been throughly disappointed that it has took this long to get here but we are now on the world stage for nuclear."

Alan Woods, strategy and business development director for Rolls Royce SMR, explained exactly what an SMR is.

He said: "Nuclear is the only reliable, 100 per cent dispatchable form of energy we have and unless we can make it commercially investable then it would not fullfill its potential in the world.

"We had to create a technology that was investable, deliverable, affordable and most importantly does what it says on the tin."

Mr Woods explained that an SMR is the size of around one-and-a-half football pitches but the end result should look attractive on the landscape and be almost 'iconic'.

In Cumbria: his is what the reactors may look like in our areahis is what the reactors may look like in our area (Image: Newsquest)

Solway Community Power Company was launched at the event; it was deemed that the company had to be 'lean, agile and flexible to deliver'.

Paul Foster, the former chief executive of Sellafield Ltd and now chairman of Solway spoke about what the SMRs will do to the community.

He said: "The SMRs will create 40,000 jobs, not just in nuclear but in other sectors. STEM is great but there are other jobs such as admin."

He said that nuclear is a means to an end, and the end will be the 'benefits to the community'.

Mr Foster continued: "We have gave you the what and why but the how still needs to be discussed."

Whilst the deadline for the final product may take up to 10 years, the company said that things are already happening and by the new year, 'site permissioning' should begin.

The panel then discussed the question about young people entering the industry. Sellafield has a real focus on young people, especially those who do not wish to take a standardised university route, and the group discussed how they will ensure that this will continue.

Mr Woods said: "Our focus is on the entirety of that skills agenda which has to be paramount and it actually starts in schools.

"We will start at primary schools by reaching out and educating people on nuclear in the hope that they will then come in as apprenticeships or in some other form."

Mr Foster said: "There is no reason why we shouldn't have a campus here to attract people in to study here that then creates job for people to maintain the campus and also brings students into an area which promotes cafe culture and bars; everything picks up from there."

Ms Harrison said: "There is a committment that by 2030, 40 per cent of jobs in the nuclear industry should be held by women and I thought that was absolutely brilliant.

"Me and my husband have never passed an aptitude test and I think that is a real barrier to too many people who would have otherwise done damn good of a job but the processes means that we have lost a number of talented people."

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