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Toshiba delay causes further Moorside uncertainty

Toshiba is in major financial difficulties. Credit: NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images

Toshiba has delayed reporting its third quarter earnings for the second time, leading to further uncertainty over the future of a major nuclear development in Cumbria.

The Japanese company owns a 60 percent stake in NuGen, the company behind the proposed Moorside nuclear project in west Cumbria.

However, Toshiba is expected to announce huge losses for 2016, and that it will pull out of nuclear projects outside Japan.

This is to do with its US nuclear unit Westinghouse, which is reported to have overpaid for another nuclear company by billions of dollars.

Westinghouse would supply three nuclear reactors to the Moorside nuclear plant in Cumbria.

An artist impression of the planned Moorside power plant. Credit: NuGen

Toshiba first delayed announcing its third quarter financial results in February, after which the company's chairman stepped down, and the further postponement was revealed this morning.

In a news conference today, the company's Chief Executive Satoshi Tsunakawa said they were considering selling their majority in Westinghouse.

Concerns have been raised by unions and local politicians, about the impact the uncertainty could have on the proposed £10 billion Moorside nuclear development.

It is hoped the project will bring more than 20,000 jobs to Cumbria, and the company behind the plans, NuGen, says its shareholders remain committed to Moorside.

NuGen’s shareholders are committed to the development of the Moorside Project to build Europe’s largest new nuclear power station in West Cumbria.

Moorside is at the core of the UK’s plans for providing safe, sustainable low-carbon electricity for generations to come and will be a transformational opportunity for West Cumbria.

The project has made significant progress since Toshiba took over as major shareholder in 2014. The site has already been proven as suitable for three Westinghouse AP1000® reactors, two phases of consultation have found the public overwhelmingly supportive of the need for new nuclear and have helped shape the plans for Moorside.

The UK Government is supportive of NuGen, as a maturing and highly skilled nuclear organisation, and has remained firmly committed to new nuclear – stating that nuclear has a crucial role to play in securing our future energy needs, especially as we look to move to a low carbon society.

NuGen will continue to progress plans to develop Europe’s largest new nuclear power station, capable of generating up to 3.8GW of low-carbon electricity – equivalent to seven per cent of the UK’s electricity requirements.

– Tom Samson, NuGen CEO