ABOUT 500 jobs are to be created at the Sellafield nuclear site in a move which will speed up decommissioning work.
Most of the jobs will be filled locally, giving a huge boost the economy in Cumbria.
About 10,000 workers are employed at Sellafield, which is being decommissioned, with the new jobs expected to be filled in the coming months, including 50 apprenticeships.
Energy Minister John Hayes said: "The announcement of 500 jobs at Sellafield shows the immense contribution of the nuclear sector to the UK economy, in particular that of west Cumbria."
John Clarke, chief executive of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, said: "The creation of these 500 new jobs is excellent news for west Cumbria and will make a significant contribution to accelerating the clean-up of the high hazard areas of Sellafield - the NDA's number one priority."
Copeland Borough Council leader Elaine Woodburn said: "This is a win-win situation for the local area. The new jobs will provide a major boost for Copeland and its residents, and will also help ensure that the plant is dealing with the biggest hazards, which is something that the council has long advocated.
"Copeland is the centre of nuclear excellence and has a strong and committed nuclear workforce, and these new jobs will provide a welcome boost and an early Christmas present for our residents and the borough as a whole. It is also pleasing to note that these new jobs include a number of apprentice positions, which will help address youth unemployment concerns."
Unite national officer Kevin Coyne said: "The creation of new jobs in west Cumbria is great news for the local economy in the current economic climate. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority's decision to accelerate decommissioning is good news for Sellafield.
"We know that there are still a number of job vacancies on the site and we call on the NDA to fill these positions with urgency."