Toshiba scraps £15bn Moorside nuclear power station plan

Irving Hamilton
November 10, 2018

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. But after more than a year of negotiations, a deal could not be secured.

She added: "As Toshiba has opted to pull the plug on this project then the government must step in".

A Business Department spokesman said: "We understand that Toshiba have faced a hard decision in ending their involvement in new nuclear projects outside of Japan in light of their well-known financial challenges".

The Japanese firm has been attempting to sell the NuGeneration consortium behind the planned Moorside plant in West Cumbria but has failed to find a buyer with today marking a major blow for the United Kingdom government which has big ambitions to develop nuclear power.

Jonathan Marshall, an analyst at the Energy and Climate Change Intelligence Unit thinktank, said: "Shifting away from expensive, complicated technology towards cheaper and easier to build renewables gives the United Kingdom the opportunity to build an electricity system that will keep bills for homes and businesses down for years to come". It said it hoped to complete the sale by March 2019.

The announcement continued: "Unfortunately, it has not been possible to successfully conclude those negotiations".

The 3,800-megawatt (MW) project was initially a joint venture between Toshiba's Westinghouse Electric and ENGIE.

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In the statement, Toshiba said it plans to start the winding-up process by January 31, 2019 and will complete all British legal procedures.

"The decision to wind up NuGen is a potential hammer blow to the nuclear sector in Cumbria, and the local economy", he said. "It is therefore vital the government facilitates the build of new nuclear on the site for the sake of the energy security of the United Kingdom and for the local economy in Cumbria".

"A new nuclear power station in West Cumbria remains vital for the UK's future energy security and requires urgent action".

"Greenpeace UK executive director John Sauven said: "The end of the Moorside plan represents a failure of the Government's nuclear gamble".

In recent weeks, MPs, business leaders, councillors and unions have all called for the Government to intervene to keep NuGen and Moorside alive, although in a TV interview at last month's Conservative Party Conference, Prime Minister Theresa May repeatedly dismissed it as a "commercial issue".

Earlier this week, GMB national secretary Justin Bowden called for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to be scrapped and a new Nuclear Development Authority to be created to develop a small modular reactor on the site.

"The lessons from the collapse of Toshiba should have been well and truly learned long ago - relying on foreign companies and countries for our essential energy needs is utterly irresponsible".

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