The Nuclear Industry Association has thrown its weight behind calls for the Government to take a stake in the Moorside nuclear plant in Cumbria.

Echoing the call made by John Woodcock, MP for Barrow and Furness, the NIA said the Government needed to consider how it could help to reduce the huge capital costs relating to nuclear new build projects.

Speaking in the House of Commons earlier this week, Mr Woodcock urged Whitehall to step in and help make the project more attractive for potential buyers.

Describing the Moorside project as “beleaguered”, he said the Government was putting thousands of jobs, and a huge economic boost for Cumbria, at risk by not intervening in a project that would produce 7% of the UK’s energy needs.

The GMB union has also repeatedly called for Government funding to help keep the £10bn project on track – a sentiment that the NIA says has been expressed by influential committees and in key strategic reviews.

Peter Haslam, Head of Policy at the NIA, said: “John Woodcock’s remarks, echo recent statements from the Public Accounts Committee, the government’s Clean Growth Strategy, the Helm Cost of Energy Review and the Nation Audit Office report on Hinkley Point C.

“These reports reflect a growing narrative of reducing capital costs for all energy projects and discuss the potential for re-examining financial models for nuclear new build.

“We would urge the government to review all of these reports and their subsequent recommendations and consider the potential for new financial arrangements for nuclear projects as they advance.”

NIA represents 250 members of the nuclear supply chain including NuGen. Its members also include Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), whose chief executive recently revealed are in “working-level” talks with NuGen shareholders Toshiba to buy a stake in the Moorside development.

China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) has also expressed an interest in the project.

NuGen and its shareholder Toshiba have been exploring a range of options to fund the project. These include Toshiba selling some or all its shares after then subsidiary Westinghouse Electric – due to supply three AP1000 reactors to Moorside – filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US having overpaid by several billion dollars for another nuclear construction and services business.

NuGen has said that it is “extremely encouraged” by the global interest in the Moorside development.

A spokesman said: “Toshiba has been engaged with multiple credible and capable parties who have expressed an interest in acquiring NuGen, further testimony of the attractiveness of the nuclear industry in the UK and an indication of the degree of foreign investment that is ready and willing to enter this market.”