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  1. ITV Report

Blow to Moorside power station plans as Toshiba winds up nuclear arm

  • Video report by ITV News Science Editor Tom Clarke

Toshiba is to wind up its nuclear arm, which was leading a project to build a new power station in the UK.

The decision by the Japanese firm’s board is a huge blow to plans for a new nuclear plant at Moorside in Cumbria.

Unions attacked the Government for not intervening to ensure the project went ahead.

The tech company revealed on Thursday that its NuGen business would start being wound up in the new year.

NuGen will start being wound up in the new year. Credit: NuGeneration Limited

A statement from Tokyo said: “After considering the additional costs entailed in continuing to operate NuGen, Toshiba recognises that the economically rational decision is to withdraw from the UK nuclear power plant construction project, and has resolved to take steps to wind up NuGen.”

Toshiba potential for NuGen to utilise the Port of Workington for sea, rail and road logistics facilities Credit: Port of Workington

NuGen said the announcement came after 18 months of negotiations with a range of potential new owners.

“Unfortunately, it has not been possible to successfully conclude those negotiations," the company said.

“NuGen has retained a team to support the implementation of a winding-up process and will work with Toshiba and its other stakeholders.

“Whilst NuGen will not be taking the project forward, the Moorside site in Cumbria remains a site designated by Government for nuclear new build, and it is now for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority as the owner of the site and the Government to determine its future."

NuGen said the announcement came after 18 months of negotiations with a range of potential new owners.

But unions attacked the Government for not intervening to ensure the project went ahead.

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National officer of the GMB union, Justin Bowden said: “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.

“Relying in this way on foreign companies for our country’s essential energy needs was always irresponsible."

Mr Bowden also claimed the British Government missed multiple opportunities to step in and take control of the project.

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

“A new nuclear power station in West Cumbria remains vital for the UK’s future energy security and requires urgent action," he added.

The Government says it remains committed to new nuclear through the Industrial Strategy Nuclear Sector Deal Credit: PA

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

“All proposed new nuclear projects in the UK are led by private sector developers and while the Government has engaged regularly with the companies involved, this is entirely a commercial decision for Toshiba.

“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.”

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

“Their flawed approach to making our economy low carbon has dashed the hopes of prospective workers and businesses in Cumbria that should have been centred around renewable technologies.

“The Government now needs to rapidly deploy renewable energy to fill the gap.

“That means restarting onshore wind, a new deal for expanding solar power, and upping ambition on more offshore wind.”

Labour's shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey Credit: PA

Labour's shadow business secretary, Rebecca Long Bailey said decision for Toshiba to wind up its nuclear arm was a result of in decision but the Government.

“Today’s announcement by Toshiba is hugely concerning for the future of the sector and the thousands of jobs it would bring to Cumbria.

"Unfortunately, it’s not surprising given the Government’s long indecision and refusal to step in.”

Unite union official Ritchie James said: “Today’s news is a cruel blow to the prospects for the North West economy and the future of thousands of highly-skilled jobs in construction and operations, once it was up and running.

“It is our view that it is not too late to revive this project, but it needs the active engagement of Government, including the commitment of public money."