Toshiba ‘remains committed’ to Moorside nuclear plant despite heavy losses
Toshiba says it remains committed to constructing a multi-billion-pound nuclear power plant at Moorside in Cumbria despite huge losses at the company recently.
NuGen, a joint venture between Toshiba and electric company Engie that will build the plant, has insisted that the plant is still set to go ahead and that it would form a significant part of the UK’s plans for providing safe, sustainable low-carbon electricity for generations to come.
Toshiba chairman Shigenori Shiga announced he was stepping down after the company said it was on track to announce losses of 390bn yen (£2.bn) for the year to March.
The move left UK unions voicing concern about the future of the planned £10bn nuclear plant at Moorside.
Toshiba now says it now intends to concentrate its nuclear activities outside Japan on fuel service and on equipment supply and engineering for new projects rather than construction.
The firm, which has a 60 per cent stake in NuGen, said in a statement: “Toshiba will consider participating in the [Moorside] project without taking on any risk from carrying out actual construction work.
“As planned from the beginning, Toshiba will seek to sell the shares to interested parties.”
NuGen’s chief executive Tom Samson said: “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 said it will continue to progress plans to develop Moorside, which will be capable of generating up to 3.8GW, or 7 per cent of the UK’s electricity requirements.
Construction of the new reactors is expected to create thousands of jobs over the next decade, with many contracts expected to go to UK firms.
NuGen, which is owned by Toshiba and French energy firm Engie, said it acknowledged the Japanese firm’s review into the future of its nuclear power business outside Japan was complete, adding: “It remains committed to developing NuGen’s Moorside project.”
Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said: “I have spoken to Toshiba and NuGen today. I welcome the continued commitment of the Nugen consortium to the Moorside project.
“The UK Government is committed to new nuclear as an important part of our energy mix, having commissioned the first new nuclear power station in a generation.
“The UK is one of the most attractive countries to invest in new nuclear and we continue to work closely with partners to see Moorside built.”
The UK has faced several setbacks with regards to the construction of new nuclear power plants. Last year, after a period of indecision by both the Government and EDF, especially in the wake of the Brexit vote, Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant was finally given the go-ahead.