By Susanna Twidale
LONDON (Reuters) - Fifteen companies and trade unions, including French nuclear giant EDF and several engineering firms, on Tuesday launched proposals for a clean energy hub to be built at Cumbria in northwest England, including a new large nuclear plant.
Japan’s Toshiba Corp was originally expected to build a nuclear plant at the Moorside site, but its plans collapsed in 2018 after the company’s nuclear unit Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy the year before.
Britain last year set a target to reach net zero emissions by 2050, which will require a huge increase in low-carbon electricity such as wind, solar and nuclear.
The Moorside Clean Energy Hub group said the proposals include a 3.2 gigawatt EPR nuclear power plant, the same technology and size as the Hinkley Point C plant EDF is currently building with China’s CGN, which is expected to provide around 7% of UK electricity supply.
The hub is also looking at other nuclear technology such as small modular reactors, and said nuclear plants could be linked with renewables, storage and hydrogen production facilities to create a clean energy hub for the north west.
"The Hub hopes to capitalize on the region's existing nuclear supply chain and could boost orders for hundreds of companies and create thousands of jobs," the group said in a statement.
The hub is being promoted by its members and will eventually be majority owned by institutional investors, the statement said.
It would also likely need some kind of support from the UK government which is yet to agree a financing deal for EDF's Sizewell C nuclear project, which it hopes to build in the east of England.
Other members include Atkins, Balfour Beatty Bailey, Laing O’Rourke, Mott MacDonald and the GMB and Unite trade unions.
(Reporting by Susanna Twidale; Editing by Jan Harvey)