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Blow to UK nuclear strategy as Toshiba considers pulling out of Cumbria plant

 scrutiny-on-coststext-relevantGovernment urged to seek new investors to save Moorside project after concerns key partner will leave consortium, Guardian, , 3 Feb 17, Plans for a new nuclear power station in Cumbria are likely to be scrapped after a key backer pulled out, creating a major hole in the government’s nuclear strategy.

Two industry sources close to the process said Toshiba had privately decided to quit the consortium behind the planned Moorside plant, echoing sources who told Reuters and the Wall Street Journal that the Japanese company was withdrawing from new nuclear projects in the UK.

Toshiba said last month it was reviewing all its nuclear business abroad after suffering a multibillion-dollar writedown on its US business. It has promised to provide more details about its intentions when it publishes results on 14 February.

The French energy firm Engie, which is Toshiba’s partner in the NuGen consortium, has long been seen as wanting to get out of the project. Its chief executive said last year the future did not lie in nuclear power……..

“Any potential investor in that project is going to need to have very direct reassurance from the government; even if they are just starting an exploratory period, they are welcomed,” said Tim Yeo, the chairman of the pro-nuclear group New Nuclear Watch Europe.

The former Conservative MP said ministers should even consider taking a direct stake in the Moorside plant. Such an interventionist approach would have been anathema in recent years but appears more credible after recent leaks revealed the government was considering taking a stake in another new nuclear plant, at Wylfa in Wales……..

Moorside, near Sellafield, is a key part of the government’s hopes for a new fleet of power stations to fill the UK’s energy gap in the next decade as coal plants and ageing atomic plants close.

The only one to be approved so far is EDF’s £18bn Hinkley Point C plant in Somerset, which was made financially possible through subsidies to be levied on household bills. The government hopes new plants will be built at Wylffa, Sizewell, Bradwell and Oldbury……

February 4, 2017 - Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK

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