The financial fog swirling around the Moorside new-build project in West Cumbria continues to thicken by the day. The development consortium NuGen must inadvertently have added to the gloom with its recently published statement that “NuGen’s shareholders [Toshiba and Engie] are committed to the development of the Moorside project.” Folks with longish memories will recall an identical statement (though with names changed) coming just a few short weeks before the widely predicted departure from NuGen of Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) in 2011 and in 2013 when Spain’s Iberdrola also pulled out of the project. Toshiba, dubbed as ‘ailing’ by the Japanese media and still suffering the aftershocks of an accounting scandal in 2015 that rocked the corporate world, now has to contend with its wayward and wholly owned subsidiary Westinghouse purchased from British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) in 2006 and which has now landed its parent with a £multi million loss on reactor building projects. Selling Westinghouse, or lowering its equity stake in the reactor business is an option currently being considered by Toshiba, as is selling off some profitable Westinghouse segments such as its nuclear fuel business which includes the Springfields site in Lancashire. After a decade of posturing over its West Cumbrian project, that the private consortium now feels the need for taxpayer support for Moorside underscores the extent of NuGen’s financial woes and highlights the unattractive face of new nuclear build to would-be global investors. Picking the UK taxpayer pocket to support a technology past its sell-by date wholly undermines the Government’s erstwhile promise that the full costs of developing, constructing and operating new-build reactors would be borne by the developer and is not likely to go unchallenged. Right on cue however is the GMB union’s view announced today that “the sensible thing is for the Government to step in and guarantee the funding, this will keep Moorside on track and push down the price we will all have to pay for the electricity it will produce.” In truth, the ulterior motive behind the Union’s support for Moorside as a means of ‘keeping the lights on’ is the rank fear that, without the development – and with Sellafield’s commercial operations soon to end, the decades of West Cumbria’s unhealthy domination by the nuclear industry will be a thing of the past.
CORE 2nd Feb 2017 read more »
On 28 January 2017, Japanese media reported that Toshiba will not take any new nuclear reactor orders, “a move that would effectively mark its withdrawal from the nuclear plant construction business”. Toshiba, owner of Westinghouse—no other company built more nuclear plants in the world— “will focus on maintenance and decommissioning operations”. Three days later, on 31 January 2017, the Wall Street Journal confirmed that “Toshiba Corp. plans to stop building nuclear power plants”, a decision that “could have widespread ramifications for the future of the nuclear-power industry”, and reported that Toshiba’s chairman, Shigenori Shiga, and Danny Roderick, a Toshiba executive and head of Westinghouse, are expected to step down by mid-February 2017.
World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2nd Feb 2017 read more »
A CONCERNED Cumbrian MP has received assurances from the Prime Minister over the future of a proposed Cumbrian nuclear new build. Plans for a power station at Moorside, near Sellafield, were thrown into doubt this week when one of the key players admitted it is reviewing its involvement in the project A spokesman for Toshiba – which holds a 60 per cent stake in Moorside developer NuGen, alongside ENGIE of France – said that the firm is re-examining all of its nuclear projects outside Japan – including Moorside. At this week’s Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons, Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock spoke about the Japanese giant’s announcement. He said: “The news revealed yesterday (Tuesday) that Toshiba is reviewing its investment in the Moorside nuclear power plant, which puts a huge question mark over not only 21,000 jobs in Cumbria but the future of our nation’s energy security. “What will the Prime Minister do personally to ensure that the deal stays on track? Mrs May replied that she is working with the business secretary to bring jobs to the UK and to make sure that deals such as these stay in place. She said: “We are keen to ensure that those jobs are brought to the United Kingdom and that such deals are kept on track. I assure him of the Government’s commitment.”
In Cumbria 2nd Feb 2017 read more »
Corporate and political challenges facing the UK’s nuclear industry must not be allowed to derail new build projects, the GMB trade union said today. The government must step in, GMB said, to ensure NuGeneration’s project to build a nuclear power plant at Moorside in West Cumbria remains on track despite the financial difficulties faced by its majority owner. NuGen, which is 60% owned by Japan’s Toshiba and 40% by France’s Engie, plans to build a plant of up to 3.8 GWe gross capacity using AP1000 nuclear reactor technology provided by Westinghouse. Toshiba Corp – which owns Westinghouse – has said it will to review its nuclear reactor construction business outside of Japan. The company’s president and CEO Satoshi Tsunakawa said last week: “We focused on the nuclear business among all of our energy businesses, but this will change. This will entail a review of our overseas (nuclear) business.” Toshiba’s domestic nuclear business would focus on maintenance, repairs and decommissioning of reactors, he said.
World Nuclear News 2nd Feb 2017 read more »
The Government is being urged to step in and guarantee funding for a new nuclear power station after Japanese giant Toshiba said it was reviewing its investment in overseas nuclear projects.
Belfast Telegraph 2nd Feb 2017 read more »