THE GOVERNMENT has got it “completely wrong” by failing to intervene to save Cumbria’s Moorside nuclear power plant project, says Carlisle MP John Stevenson.

The long-held dream of a new nuclear power station north of Sellafield was shattered as Toshiba, which owns the NuGen developer behind the project, yesterday confirmed it will start winding up the project from January.

The decision has been prompted by a failure to make sufficient progress on finding an investor willing to take on the project.

The search began after Toshiba said it would pull out of the UK’s nuclear business.

There were hopes the state-owned Korean utility firm Kepco would buy NuGen but the deal faltered after the government failed give an assurances it would financially support the project.

Mr Stevenson aimed stern criticism at the government, saying it has no coherent energy policy.

“They’ve got this completely wrong,” he said. “The government could have supported Kepco, and I’m disappointed they haven’t.

“I do think there will be a nuclear power plant built on the Moorside site, but this has set that back by several years.

“I’m disappointed the government has not intervened and been more proactive.

“Toshiba and Kepco had effectively reached a deal but Kepco wanted reassurances from the Government that have clearly not been forthcoming.

“The government does not seem to have a coherent view on energy policy when it comes to investment in nuclear new build.

“They’ll invest in the Wylfa (Newydd) project but not Moorside. The Government will have to explain why that is the case.”

The Moorside plant would have generated seven per cent of the UK’s energy needs. Mr Stevenson said: “They now need to find another source for the seven per cent.This is a significant national energy security issue. “

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “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.”