New Cumbrian nuclear project in doubt as Toshiba 'reviews projects'

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NuGen's proposed nuclear power plant at Moorside
NuGen's proposed nuclear power plant at Moorside
1 February 2017 1:40PM

The future of a new Cumbrian power plant is in doubt, after one of the key players admitted it is reviewing its involvement.

A spokesman for Toshiba - which holds a 60 per cent stake in Moorside developer NuGen, alongside ENGIE of France - told the News & Star it is re-examining all of its nuclear projects outside Japan.

This includes the proposed nuclear new build at Moorside, near Sellafield.

Last month Toshiba announced its US subsidiary, Westinghouse Electric, may have overpaid - by several billion dollars - for another nuclear construction and services business. Following this, its shares fell dramatically.

Toshiba confirmed yesterday it is now reviewing its involvement in all other overseas projects as a way of dealing with this situation. It also plans to sell its semiconductor business.

Its president and chief executive Satoshi Tsunakawa said: "Going forward, we will revise the positioning of the nuclear business as our main focus business in the energy sector, and review the future of nuclear businesses outside Japan."

A spokeswoman added: "At this moment, we can only say that we are reviewing [the] future of our nuclear power business outside Japan, but nothing has been decided at this time, including the impact on our Moorside nuclear project.

"We are reviewing broadly about our nuclear power business, and we think we can be more specific after February 14, when we plan to announce our third quarter business results that also include the amount of goodwill and it's write-down related to Westinghouse’s acquisition of CB&I Stone & Webster in 2015."

Stewart Young, leader of Cumbria County Council, said: "I would be very concerned if this had any impact on NuGen.

 Stewart Young

Stewart Young

"We will be seeking further information about their position and will be concerned if they is any effect on what would be the biggest single private sector investment that Cumbria has ever seen."

To compound matters, Toshiba is also embroiled in an accounting scandal and it was yesterday announced that several Japanese banks may be about to launch a lawsuit against it.

A decision on whether to proceed with Moorside is due in 2018.

A spokesman for NuGen said: “NuGen’s shareholders, (Toshiba and Engie) are committed to the development of the Moorside project.”

If Moorside does go ahead, Westinghouse, which was once owned by British Nuclear Fuels, would supply three of its AP1000 reactors.

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Ang   Thompson , Workington Wednesday, 15 February, 2017 at 7:03PM
The NHS is in crisis and Whitehaven hospital is about to be downgraded, so why waste billions on a new nuclear plant that will be of zero benefit to the local economy. North west projects admits that the power generated is for demand down south, it would employ approx 900 people for operations and a migrant workforce would be brought in for construction. Tourism is the big earner and employer in Cumbria, the west coast needs to diversify and stop thinking nuclear is everything, its not nice to leave future generations a fukushima on their doorstep, especially next door to Sellafield.
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Mike   C , Egremont Tuesday, 07 February, 2017 at 6:47AM
If it does not go ahead what are the future prospects for the future generations for employment as Sellafield runs down. Plus how are we going to keep the lights on more windmills get real!
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Roy   Oxlade , Workington Tuesday, 31 January, 2017 at 8:10PM
Fantastic news, lets hope Toshiba pull out and Moronside is never started. This is good for Cumbria as there will not be the pylon blight on the landscape and property devaluation. It was never a positive concept for west cumbria, don't believe the lies about twenty thousand jobs and an economic boost for the area. If this was true then why were they going to have to build new housing to accomodate the workforce, obviously not locals but contractors from across the country.
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Bernie   Brown , Keswick Tuesday, 31 January, 2017 at 2:33PM
Yippee, This is the best news Cumbrian's have had in over 60 years. We never asked for Nuclear Energy on our doorstep so why should we not be cellebrating this fantastic news.
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Linda   Parsons , Seascale Tuesday, 31 January, 2017 at 2:17PM
Toshiba are in a financial crisis, I think the Council is being naive, the problem with relying on private investment is the risk of the money drying up without the project being fulfilled and the British government having to end up footing the bill, i.e. the tax payer. Moorside is too risky a venture, financially and environmentally. It's about time Copeland started extracting its head out of the nuclear industry's backside and look forward to an alternative future for the area.
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