Business Secretary John Hutton visited Sellafield today to launch a competition to appoint a commercial operator to run a new National Nuclear Laboratory.
Hutton also launched the West Cumbria Masterplan, a £2bn regeneration vision to build on the area's nuclear expertise and create 16,000 jobs, boosting the economy by £800m a year.
Hutton said: "It is now clear nuclear power will need to continue to play a crucial role in our low carbon future. The creation of the NNL will safeguard the UK's high-tech nuclear expertise, facilities and skills.
"The people of West Cumbria know that a career in the nuclear industry is something to be proud of. I am determined the UK makes the most of its unrivalled nuclear skills base. To secure our future energy needs, we will need thousands of skilled men and women across the UK to take advantage of the 100,000 jobs new nuclear could bring to the UK."
The NNL will be set up with help from nuclear research specialist Nexia Solutions at facilities owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, including the Sellafield Technology Centre. It will be owned by Government, but run by a commercial operator. The commercial operator is expected to be in place by spring 2009.