Irish Sea port, Copeland district, administrative county of Cumbria, historic county of Cumberland, England. The Lowther family created a new port there in the 17th century as an outlet for shipping coal, especially to Dublin, from their local mines, and they laid out a new town on a regular grid plan. For a time Whitehaven dominated the Irish Sea coal trade, had busy shipyards, and shared in the prosperous American tobacco trade. Following the decline of its old coal-based industries, modern chemical works, based upon local deep-seated anhydrite deposits, and light industries injected some new life into the local economy. To the south are Calder Hall, Britain's oldest nuclear power station, and the nuclear fuel reprocessing plant at Sellafield. Pop. (2001) 24,978.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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