The site of a new £10billion power plant in Britain has been confirmed, creating up to 21,000 energy jobs.
A deal to secure the land needed was completed to pave the way for Europe’s biggest new nuclear project.
Venture group Nugen paid an undisclosed sum for the site at Moorside, near Sellafield in Cumbria.
It will see three nuclear reactors constructed on the land which was owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).
The sale follows months of tests to ensure the area is suitable.
The three Westinghouse reactors planned will have a combined output of 3.4 gigawatts, almost seven per cent of the UK’s total electricity needs.
Each of the reactors will take about four years to build, and a small town of 4,000 new homes will be needed for the huge workforce.
It will have its own railway station, health centres and local amenities, with a transport infrastructure to take pressure off local roads.
Much of the material required will be carried to the site by sea.
The new workers’ town will feature sustainable homes, remaining in place after the development is completed to provide social housing, a key need in Cumbria.
Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom said: “Backing the next generation of nuclear projects is a key part of our long-term plan to power the economy with clean, secure energy and keep bills as low as possible for hard working families and businesses.”
Copeland MP Jamie Reed also welcomed the move, saying: “We have lobbied long and hard for new nuclear build to complement the array of world-class nuclear skills we already have here.”
The development is expected to generate up to 21,000 nuclear jobs during its lifetime.
Early building work will start in 2017 with a target date of 2024 for the first of three reactors starting to produce power. The other two would follow in 2025 and 2026.
Peak employment will be during the key construction phase in 2022-2024, when about 6,000 people will be involved. During operation, Moorside will directly employ more than 1,000 people.