Government pumping £18m into construction of reactors designed by Rolls-Royce which are expected to create thousands of jobs.
A series of mini-nuclear reactors could be built across the North in a major power scheme.
Plants could generate energy in Yorkshire, Cumbria, Lancashire and Cheshire under a project spearheaded by Rolls-Royce for “small modular reactors”.
The Government is pumping in £18million so the firm can develop the design of the reactors.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to formally announce the plan in September and the first plant could be up and running within the next 15 years.
“These new mini nuclear reactors would be concentrated across the North — and plans are in motion to place them in the Sheffield city region, Cumbria, Lancashire and Cheshire,” a Government source told the Times.
“Nuclear is clean and a way of reducing the UK’s carbon footprint on a large scale.”
The reactors would trigger a jobs bonanza, with 40,000 posts expected to be created.
Each power station could generate enough energy to fuel 750,000 homes, according to estimates by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Northern Powerhouse Partnership director Henri Murison said: “There is market ready technology available globally which can be put together with the UK supply chain, with us having what is needed to build them here in the Northern Powerhouse alongside investing in a large factory which this support will help us to achieve.
“Work undertaken by the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre has shown what can be achieved; ensuring that we build up our capabilities and all the resulting economic benefits of the jobs being here in making them.
“Our upcoming energy industrial strategy for the Northern Powerhouse will focus heavily on SMRs, fulfilling the promise of when George Osborne back in 2015 committed the funds to establish the UK as a leader in what was then an emerging area globally.”
Supporters say nuclear power is clean, efficient and renewable.
But critics believe it is too expensive, takes too long to clean up and the risks involved are too great.
Rolls-Royce’s website says: “At every point in the development of our UK SMR solution, we have sought to take a modular approach to drive down the cost of electricity to as low as practically possible, whilst at the same time building in multiple layers of fault prevention and protection to make sure the technology is safe in all modes of operation.”
But scientist Dr Ian Fairlie, of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said: “The grandiose safety claims made about SMRs are reminiscent of false claims about nuclear power in the 1950s when it was said electricity would become too cheap to meter.
“SMRs are still vulnerable to nuclear accidents, terror attacks, and can produce more nuclear waste than conventional reactors per unit of electricity.”
Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis said: “The Sheffield City Region is superbly placed to support the development of small modular reactors technology.
“We can play a leading role in meeting the challenges of climate change while helping to keep the lights on.”
French firm EDF is building a £20billion nuke plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset.
The Treasury struck a deal with the company that means the UK will pay £92.50 per megawatt-hour, roughly twice the current market rate.
EDF wants to build another station at Sizewell in Suffolk, which could cost £16billion.
The need for new power sources in Britain has provoked huge rows over the direction of policy in the UK.
Environmental campaigners want a greater focus on renewables such as solar, wind and tidal.
Last Friday, nearly a million people were hit by a major power cut across large areas of England and Wales, affecting homes and transport networks during the evening rush hour.
The National Grid blamed problems with two power generators as blackouts were reported across the Midlands, the South East, South West and North East of England, and Wales.
Industry experts said a gas-fired power station at Little Barford, Beds, failed first followed two minutes later by the Hornsea offshore wind farm disconnecting from the grid.
Source: Mirror Online