Toshiba nuclear company files for bankruptcy

Has Moorside been given the red light? Credit: NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images

A nuclear company owned by Toshiba - one of the major backers of the Moorside project in Cumbria - has filed for bankruptcy.

Westinghouse, which is Toshiba's US unit, has suffered massive losses after reportedly overpaying billions of pounds on nuclear projects.

It represents a further blow for the Japanese conglomerate, which has warned its losses for last year could exceed £7 billion - much more than initially anticipated.

Toshiba has already said it intends to pull out of nuclear projects outside Japan, sparking major concerns over the Moorside nuclear project in Cumbria.

The Japanese company has a 60 percent stake in NuGen, the firm behind Moorside, which it's hoped will create more than 20,000 jobs over the life of the station, including thousands in Cumbria.

In a statement, Toshiba said Westinghouse's application for bankruptcy meant the supply of reactors from the US to Moorside was now "uncertain".

The conglomerate also said it is considering not continuing with the project, and is looking at alternative measures like selling shares.

An impression of the new Moorside nuclear development. Credit: NuGen
  • What happens next?

The UK government has once again been urged to step in, and give reassurances about the future of the Moorside nuclear project.

The Shadow Business Secretary has accused the government of "dragging its heels".

  • Environmental concerns

The environmental charity Greenpeace UK says the government "looks set" to pump in billions of pounds of public money to keep Moorside on track.

However, the group has urged the government not to step in to support Moorside - but rather to invest in renewable energy schemes.