Sellafield in Cumbria has been earmarked as one of eight sites to get a new nuclear power station.
The plans will now have to go through Parliament and the planning process, but ministers hope the new facilities will be up and running by 2025.
Barrow Labour MP John Woodcock said the move was good news and would bring jobs to the county.
The pressure group Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment said the site was too remote from the South East.
The government is planning the new suite of nuclear reactors to maintain electricity supplies and cut greenhouse gas emissions when old coal-based power stations are shut down.
Mr Woodcock said more than 300 people from Barrow travelled to Sellafield each day to work and even more jobs would be created.
He said: "I am really glad this is going ahead, but it is very important that the Conservative-led government keeps its nerve on this issue."
Martin Forwood, spokesman for Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment, said: "This fixation on suffocating west Cumbria with all things nuclear ignores the wealth of evidence against the suitability of the proposed site.
"This decision clearly has more to do with appeasing the nuclear apologists than ensuring a safe, economic and reliable source of electricity for the UK.
"The proposed site's green field status and its accepted remoteness from the UK's South and South East regions where the electricity is needed, should have ruled out the site long ago."