Economy

Toshiba slashes 7,000 jobs, pulls out of British nuke plant, says CEO

Toshiba slashes 7,000 jobs, pulls out of British nuke plant, says CEO

"A lack of clarity from the United Kingdom on the funding model and its timing for developing new nuclear power capacity has contributed to a reluctance to invest by the private sector".

In September NuGen announced it was reducing its team at Moorside from more than 100 to fewer than 40 - leading to speculation the plant's development was in jeopardy.

The proposed plant had been expected to start operating by the mid-2020s and to generate more than three gigawatts of electricity - enough to meet about 7 per cent of the UK's needs.

A Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy spokesperson said: "We understand that Toshiba have faced a hard decision in ending their involvement in new nuclear projects outside of Japan in light of their well-known financial challenges".

United Kingdom proposals to develop a new nuclear power station in Cumbria are in serious doubt as the engineering giant Toshiba confirm it is pulling out of the £15bn project.

NuGen boss Tom Samson revealed the collapse of the Moorside project on Cumbria's economy and communities was his greatest disappointment.

NuGen said the announcement came after 18 months of negotiations with a range of potential new owners.

She added: "As Toshiba has opted to pull the plug on this project then the government must step in". However, notwithstanding negotiations with multiple companies, Toshiba is unable to anticipate to complete the sale of NuGen during FY2018, to March 31, 2019.

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The 3,800-megawatt (MW) project was initially a joint venture between Toshiba's Westinghouse Electric and ENGIE.

The other stemmed back to early 2017 when the then Toshiba subsidiary Westinghouse filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US in early 2017 - a move which ultimately led Toshiba to divest from overseas nuclear projects and pursue the sale of NuGen.

"It is now for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority as the owner of the site and the government to determine its future".

A Business Department spokesman said: "We understand that Toshiba have faced a hard decision in ending their involvement in new nuclear projects outside of Japan in light of their well-known financial challenges".

But the plans disintegrated after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US in early 2017 having overpaid by several billion dollars for another nuclear construction and services business. Toshiba's decision to wind up NuGen suggests a deal with Brookfield looks unlikely.

Unions have attacked the government for not intervening earlier to save the plant with the fate of the nuclear power station being cast into doubt in July when a large majority of staff in Cumbria were laid off.

General union GMB has called for an urgent rethink and wants the government to build a small modular nuclear reactor at the site.

"Relying on foreign companies and countries for our essential energy needs is utterly irresponsible", he added.


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