Blow for United Kingdom energy strategy as Toshiba winds up nuclear project

08 Novembre, 2018, 16:24 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Toshiba chairman and CEO Nobuaki Kurumatani attends a press conference in Tokyo. — AFP

Toshiba's decision to wind-up its United Kingdom nuclear construction operation, Nugen, is a serious set back for Government plans to develop next-generation nuclear power as part of its shift to a low carbon economy.

The decision by the Japanese firm's board is a huge blow to plans for a new nuclear plant at Moorside in Cumbria.

Westinghouse was placed in bankruptcy protection previous year amid billions of dollars worth of losses, forcing Toshiba to raise funds by selling off its prized chip-making business.

"NuGen would like to pay tribute to colleagues, its shareholder, Toshiba, and to the other stakeholders, and many various friends of the project both in Cumbria and beyond, who have supported NuGen's efforts through its development phase and throughout the proposed sale negotiations".

That left Toshiba having to buy up its stake and assume all the risk.

Japanese conglomerate Toshiba is said to be preparing to liquidate its Manchester-based nuclear arm NuGen, after failing to sell the unit, which is responsible for the execution of the £15bn Moorside Nuclear Power Station.

NuGen was initially co-owned by Toshiba and the French firm Engie.

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It added that it expected to begin the winding up by process by 31 January and to record a loss of just over £100m.

"A new nuclear power station in West Cumbria remains vital for the UK's future energy security and requires urgent action".

"It is essential that this competitive advantage and the nuclear skills base are maintained, through sustained investment in nuclear new build, harnessing this capability and delivering low carbon energy to power the United Kingdom economy".

"All proposed new nuclear projects in the United Kingdom 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".

The GMB union said the "looming collapse" of Moorside had been "depressingly predictable".

"Relying in this way on foreign companies for our country's essential energy needs was always irresponsible", said its national officer Justin Bowden.

Toshiba said its NuGen business would start being wound up in the new year.

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