CUMBRIA could be home to a new type of miniature nuclear reactor as part of a £500m scheme announced by the Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson is planning to build small modular reactors (SMRs) in Yorkshire, Cumbria, Lancashire and Cheshire under the plans set to be revealed next month.

A white paper is now circulating so people in the Government can be briefed, with the paper due to be released on September 12.

The move could put the North at the vanguard of a new nuclear Renaissance despite the collapse of the Moorside project.

The government last month gave a boost to the nuclear sector when it revealed plans to invest up to £18m in the creation of the “mini nuclear power stations”.

And now a consortium led by Rolls-Royce is proposing to build prototype in an investment with the government of £500m.

The initial £18m will allow Rolls-Royce to develop the design of the reactors.

David Moore, Copeland’s nuclear portfolio-holder, described the expected announcement as “fantastic news”.

And with Cumbria among the likely locations for SMRs, he said the county could help power the Government’s Northern Powerhouse initiative.

He said: “We would look to the expertise we have in Copeland to develop these further and to get ourselves in a position to build these reactors.

“We would also be in a good position not only to assist in the manufacture but also to provide the fuel for a whole new generation of nuclear reactors.

He added: “This is not to say we don’t want another Moorside but it would need massive supporting infrastructure where SMRs can be tapped into the existing supply.”

Mr Moore said these reactors “work best in geographically isolated areas” because they could be connected to the existing system without the need to re-fit the grid.

The PM’s expected announcement would mean that Cumbria is no longer in competition with Welsh sites including Anglesey.

An SMR model is expected to be working by the early 2030s. The reactors would create 40,000 jobs with each power station producing enough energy to power 750,000 homes, according to estimates by the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

The reactors are designed to be built in a factory and then shipped to another location for assembly. Experts say SMRs would use less water than traditional reactors, which will open up sites farther away from communities concerned about radiation.

A commitment to nuclear is part of plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions to almost zero by 2050.