Nuclear power expansion hit by Cumbria vote

PLANS to build more nuclear power stations in the UK suffered a blow yesterday as Cumbria county council voted against proposals to build a £12bn underground radioactive waste dump on the edge of the Lake District.

The government wants nuclear power to help meet the UK’s future energy needs but it must first find a new site for storing radioactive waste. Cumbria, which already has a substantial nuclear power industry thanks to the presence of the Sellafield plant, was the only local area to have expressed an interest in hosting such a site.

“Without a solution to the radioactive waste issue we cannot build new nuclear power stations,” local MP Jamie Reed, who backs nuclear expansion, told City A.M. last night. “The current process has collapsed but the policy imperative has intensified. I’m confident we can work to secure the needs of this critical UK industry.”

The government insisted it would try and convince other councils to host the nuclear storage site. But it is understood that both Downing Street and officials in the energy department are keen to find a new mandate for a Cumbrian location.

Hitachi, EDF, GDF and Iberdrola all have interests in building new UK nuclear power stations.