The Nuclear Industry Association has launched a major campaign to press the case for nuclear power as part of the UK’s energy mix.

The ‘Rediscover Nuclear’ campaign will run until March 2020 to drive home the importance of nuclear energy in meeting the Government’s ambitious Net Zero 2050 target and its wide-ranging benefits to the economy in terms of high quality job creation, innovation and business opportunities, said the industry body.

The campaign will include new micro website outlining nuclear’s role in helping cut all CO2 emissions in the next three decades and a social media campaign #Rediscovernuclear focused on Twitter and LinkedIn, that will allow industry ambassadors to engage and promote the sector.

The NIA said the campaign would also set out nuclear’s importance in terms of energy security, building the UK’s science and engineering capabilities and help to forge international trade relations beyond the European Union.

Its chief executive, Tom Greatrex, urged people to engage with the campaign to ensure the case for nuclear was “heard loud and clear”.

“Now, more than ever, it is critical that we invest in this homegrown source of power,” he said.

“As the Committee on Climate Change and many others have said, to meet Net Zero we cannot rely on variable renewables, backed up by fossil fuels. We need a portfolio of low carbon technologies including nuclear power.

“Nuclear energy is the most reliable, low carbon source of power we have⁠ - and with seven out of eight of the UK’s existing nuclear power plants coming offline by 2030 as they reach the end of their operational lives, there is a clear and urgent need to for the development of a new fleet to ensure growth of clean power.

“Nuclear also does its part for the economy - bringing investment and prosperity to urban and rural regions of the UK, building on the 60,000 jobs the sector already employs.

“We need to ensure nuclear power remains part of the energy mix in the future.”

The importance of the nuclear sector to the county’s economy is well known, with a vast supply chain of homegrown and multinational companies supporting activities at Sellafield and facilities including the Low Level Waste Repository.

According to latest NIA data, the industry supports more than 14,000 jobs in Cumbria.

And while decommissioning, waste management and environmental remediation remain the core areas of work, political leaders and businesses are continuing to push the case for new nuclear development.

There is quiet confidence among industry leaders that either a large scale power station or small modular reactors will be built at the Moorside site adjacent to Sellafield, after NuGen’s plans for a £15 billion development collapsed just under a year ago.

However, the industry remains controversial, with opponents highlighting the environmental and financial risks of nuclear.

Along with the collapse of Moorside, developments at Wylfa Newydd and Oldbury in Anglesey and Gloucestershire respectively have both been mothballed due to financial wrangles.

And last month EDF conceded its Hinkley Point C power station could cost up to £2.9 billion more than first though.

While EDF and project partners China General Nuclear will foot the bill, a new finance model being considered by the Government to support future new build developments, would leave consumers to foot the bill for both construction costs and any overruns.