UK-based Atkins and 14 other companies and trade unions have announced plans to jointly build clean energy hub in Moorside, Cumbria in the UK.

The Moorside Clean Energy Hub would comprise nuclear projects including a 3.2GW EPR nuclear plant.

The partners involved in the Moorside Hub include Altrad; Balfour Beatty Bailey; Bilfinger; Cavendish Nuclear; Doosan Babcock; EDF; GMB; Jacobs; Laing O’Rourke; Mott MacDonald; Mace; Prospect; Quod; and Unite the Union.

Atkins said that the hub would also include the development of small modular reactors (SMRs) and advanced modular reactors (AMRs) with connection to renewable and green hydrogen production technologies.

The Moorside hub, which will capitalise on the region’s existing nuclear supply chain, is expected to create thousands of jobs.

Commenting on the move, the Nuclear Industry Association CEO Tom Greatrex said: “These are exactly the attributes the country needs to bounce back from COVID-19, deliver jobs, and get us on track to hit Net Zero.

“Large scale and smaller, next generation technologies have a huge amount to offer working as part of the clean energy hub concept. They can deliver clean electricity and achieve deeper decarbonisation through the creation of hydrogen, clean fuels and district and industrial heating.”

Clean Energy Hub to become green hydrogen production centre

Atkins expects the Clean Energy Hub to become a centre for producing green hydrogen, which can be used as green fuel for local transport and industrial processes.

Unite North West regional secretary Ritchie James said: “The fact that this consortium is looking beyond tomorrow and into a low carbon future is good news, given that there could be a post-pandemic 25,000 jobs bonanza across the region if this takes off.

“When Toshiba withdrew from the Moorside site, after well-publicised financial problems in 2018, this was a blow to the economic future of Cumbria – we hope the consortium, to which Unite has signed up to, will kick-start a decision from government.”

In April 2020, UK-based energy storage and clean fuel company ITM Power and Element Energy announced plans to jointly assess the feasibility of deploying large-scale renewable hydrogen in Humberside, UK, as part of a new project.