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Scott Brownrigg plans new nuclear power station in Cumbria

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AJ100 practice Scott Brownrigg has unveiled a masterplan for a new nuclear power station next to Sellafield in Cumbria

Backed by joint venture company NuGeneration (NuGen), the £10billion scheme for the 200ha waterfront site known as Moorside will create a 3.8GW plant on land to the north and west of the existing Sellafield complex.

The ‘visioning’ commission drawn up by Scott Brownrigg’s Advanced Technologies arm is separate to the recently launched RIBA-backed competition to find a designer for ’various buildings’ on the plot, including a visitor centre and an accommodation block. A winner is expected to be announced in that contest next month.

Scott Brownrigg’s concept for NuGen, a partnership between Toshiba and ENGIE (formerly GDF SUEZ), builds in ‘future scenarios’ where robots could be used for ’day-to-day operations’.

The project is being led by Scott Brownrigg director Iain Macdonald, an expert in nuclear energy who worked on the new European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) at Hinkley Point while at YRM.

He said: ’There is a long and continuing relationship between architecture, engineering and industrial process in Britain. This productive architecture has not only diversified in scale and typology but also become cleaner with advances in low carbon processes.

’The architectural vision for Moorside demonstrates an aesthetic appeal and functional clarity which ensures that the visual impact of the project avoids the confused and often ‘ad hoc’ layout that can occur with large infrastructure developments, particularly in sensitive rural settings.’

Macdonald added: ’As the construction, operation and decommissioning lifespan of a nuclear power station may last a century, the impact of technology on its real estate may in some cases be transformational.’

It is expected that the new power station will be up and running in 2024.

Site plan of proposed Moorside nuclear power station

Site plan of proposed Moorside nuclear power station

Site plan of proposed Moorside nuclear power station

Architect’s view

We have considered future scenarios such as greater automation including greater use of robots in day-to-day operations. Attention has also been paid to the arrangement of space between buildings and design of landscape surrounding the site to promote workplace wellbeing and community engagement in science and nature.

Our approach to the scheme’s design proposes a hierarchy whereby the external envelopes of buildings, i.e. overall form and visible materials relate to their size and function with recognisable common features to reinforce ordering principles. This articulation progressively becomes more refined, as buildings reduce in size bringing a human scale to the development.

Sustainability has also been a key driver of the masterplanning with movement and transport of operational staff, construction workers and materials to the main site and associated development intended to be by rail and sea.

Sellafield Power station

Sellafield Power station

Source: Simon Ledingham

The existing nuclear complex sits to the south east of the proposed Moorfield site (in foreground)

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