THE UK Government has been told 'the devil is in the detail' when it comes to plans for clean energy projects in Cumbria.

Copeland Labour has urged the Government to deliver on promises around nuclear energy, following the publishing of its decarbonisation strategy and the naming of Moorside, a site near Sellafield, in the shortlist for the siting of a prototype fusion reactor.

Labour councillor for Whitehaven, Joseph Ghayouba, said that while it is positive news that Copeland made the shortlist for STEP’s prototype nuclear fusion reactor, he wants to see more proactive work from the Government to tackle climate change and deliver on promised green jobs.

He said: “From my point of view, as someone who wants to tackle climate change I was looking for something more concrete than a physics experiment. Fusion power still has a lot of challenges to overcome to be commercially viable.”

STEP is a Government-backed scheme for a prototype fusion energy plant which would generate net electricity and demonstrate how the plant would work.

Councillor Ghayouba said: “We need to tackle the climate crisis, not just put our hands up for experimental technology.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week published a strategy to reduce the UK’s Carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, addressing the climate emergency.

Hopes remain high to see Moorside become a Clean Energy Hub, housing small modular reactors. The UK SMR Consortium is interested in siting nuclear reactors in Copeland but the site has competition in Sizewell C which is likely to follow Hinkley Point as the next nuclear project to begin development.

Councillor Ghayouba said: “The only nuclear reactor that’s name-checked in that document is Sizewell, there’s no mention of Cumbria.”

He said that plans for nuclear energy generation should be moving faster.

“The Government has recognised the scale of the challenge but when it comes to it, the devil in the detail is not there. We haven’t got time to waste now, we’ve wasted the last decade.

“The problem is Boris is in a stand-off with the Rishi Sunak about the cost of it.”

Conservative MP for Copeland Trudy Harrison welcomed the news that the UK Atomic Energy Authority has shortlisted Moorside for STEP in their siting competition.

She said: “The NDA-owned land adjacent to Sellafield is the most logical site for a raft of new and advanced technology.

“As the Centre of Nuclear Excellence, there is nowhere else in Europe with the concentration of precision and specific skills in nuclear that we have here in Copeland.

“Copeland has been at the forefront of so many ‘firsts’ in the nuclear industry, and we are well placed to deliver another in the form of STEP."