Siobhan Baillie has called for a town in the Stroud district to be the home of a nuclear project.
The Stroud MP has made the case for Berkeley and Oldbury to be home to the UK’s first nuclear fusion prototype at a major event in Westminster to promote the bid.
The Atomic Energy Authority’s (UKAEA) has put the Severn Edge consortium bid on a shortlist of five to develop the technology – considered the Holy Grail of power – in the decades to come.
Siobhan told more than 100 guests at the Western Gateway All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) that all six Gloucestershire MPs as well as South Gloucestershire MP, Luke Hall were onboard with the bid and that she wants to work with all 64 Western Gateway MPs in the South West and South Wales to ensure a successful outcome.
“It is so important that this project is seen through the lens of a south west and Wales project for three reasons: for the scale of its impact on the region, to show this part of the world’s expertise and to hammer home the levelling up agenda locally,” she told guests.
“The Severn Edge bid will create opportunities from Cornwall to Culham and take in Wales too. There is no other bid that involves two countries.
“I am your most enthusiastic MP for this project in a superb field of optimism and enthusiasm in the Houses of Parliament.”
She explained Berkeley was the best site because it is ready to go, it has expertise close by in the nuclear and construction supply chain and it is the closest bid to the scientific experts at Culham in Oxfordshire who have recently made great strides in developing fusion power.
Among the guests at the House of Lords were local business Renishaw – Gloucestershire County Council – South Gloucestershire Council and Business West along with the UKAEA.
The event, hosted by Baroness Wilcox, also included speeches by Chair of the Western Gateway Katherine Bennett, Professor Phil Taylor from the University of Bristol, the UKAEA’s, Head of Commercial and Programme Development Tris Denton, Claire Mitchell, the Finance Director at Thales UK and Monmouth MP minister David TC Davies.
Speaking afterwards Siobhan added: “This was a great event to set out our stall and shout as loud as possible about the exciting project we could have here in Stroud to bring fusion power into reality. It was great to get a photograph of some of the Gloucestershire representatives that attended.
“If we can develop this technology, it will protect the planet for future generations of our children and grandchildren and inspire legions of young scientists from Stroud along the way. It is that important and I am pleased the Government is showing such foresight in its ambitions.
“Thank you to the organisers and to everyone who attended. It was a brilliant showcase and a statement of intent for our bid.”