Belfast Telegraph

Embattled Toshiba 'remains committed' to new nuclear plant in Cumbria

The company building a new nuclear power station in Cumbria insists Toshiba "remains committed" to the multi billion-pound project despite doubts after the Japanese giant revealed a huge loss.

NuGen said the planned new plant at Moorside was at the core 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 (£2.7 billion) for the year to March.

The move left UK unions voicing concern about the future of the planned £10 billion nuclear plant at Moorside.

Toshiba, which has a 60% stake in NuGen, the company planning to build the site, said in a statement: "Toshiba will consider participating in the 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 power for up to six million homes, or 7% 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."

Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the UK Nuclear Industry Association said: "We welcome Toshiba's continued commitment to the Moorside project.

"With more than two thirds of our power generation capacity retiring between 2010 and 2030, we urgently need to ensure we have a secure, reliable, always available way of providing electricity to homes, businesses and public services for our future needs, and to do that in as low carbon a way as possible.

"As both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn have made clear over recent weeks, building new nuclear capacity in west Cumbria is an integral part of the UK being able to replace old power stations, keeping a balanced mix as carbon emissions are reduced.

"This is a vital part of our country's energy future."