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Thursday, 24 April 2014

Politicians welcome Sellafield jobs boost

THE Millom community is primed to benefit from the addition of 500 new workers at Sellafield to hasten the clean-up of the nuclear reprocessing plant.

This week’s announcement has local politicians confident that the town will reap substantial economic rewards from the influx of employees to the area.

Sellafield has also pledged that many of the jobs will be filled by local workers, with some 50 apprentices set to join the company.

Councillor Ray Cole, the county councillor for Millom, said the positive announcement had the potential to feed right through the economy.

“That is really, really good news not only for just that part of south west Cumbria but for the Millom area as well,” he said.

“We need all the help we can get in regenerating this area.

“Obviously Sellafield is our major employer and it is to be hoped that there will be plenty of work for local people.”

Cllr Cole said the housing, services and retail sectors all stood to gain from having families move into the area.

“In this part of south west Cumbria there are very good schools, we have access to two hospitals – Furness General and Whitehaven – and we have a rail link all the way through the west coast,” he said.

“There are some very skilled work people who will be here and I hope we can take advantage of that for the long-term.”

Copeland Borough Council leader Elaine Woodburn described the announcement as “an early Christmas present” for the borough’s residents and business owners. “It is also pleasing to note that these new jobs include a number of apprentice positions, which will help address youth unemployment concerns,” she said.

Martin Forwood, a member of Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment, said he hoped the new jobs would expedite the decommissioning process at the Sellafield site.

However, he speculated that the announcement could have been forced by a National Audit Office report released last month that was critical of the company’s lack of progress.

“We would welcome anything that speeds up the process of cleaning up the mess that there is at Sellafield,” he said.

“I think the clean-up has been slower than most people would like because they have had problems actually financing the clean-up programmes.

“But this is certainly a move in the right direction.”

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