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Future of Britain’s Moorside nuclear power project now looking uncertain

Toshiba bankruptcy threatens Moorside, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/05/06/toshiba-bankruptcy-threatens-moorside/ 6 MAY 2017 

Toshiba’s bankrupt nuclear arm may be prevented from providing any emergency funds to its overseas interests, throwing the future of the Moorside nuclear plant in Cumbria into fresh doubt.

It has emerged that Westinghouse, the Toshiba-owned American nuclear reactor developer, faces orders not to prop up any joint venture agreements that it entered into before the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March.

Wall Street private equity giant Apollo has pledged an $800m (£617m)rescue loan to the Pennsylvania-based company, which is awaiting court approval, while a group of hedge funds is also interested in providing emergency financing. However, it is understood that many of these prospective new investors want to see any fresh funds funnelled into Westinghouse and its main subsidiaries, not foreign joint venture projects like Moorside. They are calling for partners involved in Toshiba’s overseas interests to also step in and provide support.

The £18bn Moorside project is a central pillar of the UK’s atomic energy programme. The 3.4 gigawatt plant will power up to 6m homes but it has been thrown into doubt by Toshiba’s financial crisis and the bankruptcy of Westinghouse. The reactor maker, which the Japanese corporation bought from the British government in 2006, had been due to install three of its AP1000 reactors at Moorside. The project received a further blow when its other backer, French energy provider Engie, pulled out. Without the support of the only remaining backer, there are fears that the plant will never be built.

However, an industry source said: “Engie is a nuclear developer and a nuclear operator – it’s what they do. Senior people in the company have said that if the project found a way to move forward they would be interested in coming back.”

 

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May 8, 2017 - Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK

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