Japan's Toshiba to pull out of United Kingdom nuclear power project

A mock-up of the planned Moorside plant. Pic NuGen

By GCR Staff1 CommentPlans to build a nuclear power station at Moorside in Cumbria, northwest England took a potentially fatal hit yesterday after Japanese engineer Toshiba said it was winding up the NuGen subsidiary that was to have built it.

The project was set to have created thousands of jobs during the construction and operation stage and generated around seven per cent of the UK's energy needs.

Unions have criticised the government for failing to intervene and ensure the project went ahead.

Director of the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (North West) Guy Lawson said: "The decision to wind up NuGen is a potential hammer blow to the nuclear sector in Cumbria, and the local economy".

"NuGen would like to pay tribute to colleagues, its shareholder, Toshiba, and to the other stakeholders, and many various friends of the project both in Cumbria and beyond, who have supported NuGen's efforts through its development phase and throughout the proposed sale negotiations", it said.

Toshiba said the 7,000 jobs, which represent 5% of the company's workforce, would be eliminated through a mix of layoffs and not replacing departed staffers.

The troubles at Westinghouse, which was due to provide three reactors for the £15bn Moorside project, prompted a French investor to pull out of NuGen.

GMB union national officer, Justin Bowden, commented: "The British government has blood on its hands as the final sad but predictable nail is banged into the coffin of Toshiba's jinxed jaunt into nuclear power".

"In the wreckage that passes for a joined-up United Kingdom energy policy, the question now is whether Government has finally learned the mistakes of Moorside?"

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The company said the wind-up process would start by January 31 and it expected to incur losses before taxes of around £100.6 million.

In a blow to the government's nuclear strategy, Toshiba, the Japanese conglomerate, said that it had chose to shut down its Nugen subsidiary, which was developing the Moorside project near Sellafield.

'This government remains committed to new nuclear through the Industrial Strategy Nuclear Sector Deal as well as consenting the first new nuclear power station in a generation at Hinkley Point C, ' the spokesman said.

But the plans disintegrated after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States of America in early 2017 having overpaid by several billion dollars for another nuclear construction and services business.

"With offshore wind now cheaper than nuclear, it's clear renewables are the clean and viable alternative".

"The long-term future of this could be on the line if we can't move forward with building Moorside".

It followed a discussion of Toshiba's board in Tokyo, and an official announcement was made in the early hours.

Nuclear energy isn't just dirty and risky, this announcement shows once again it's not economically viable.

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