£225m black hole may stall the completion of giant Cumbria nuclear plant
The future of nuclear project Moorside has been thrown into doubt
It has emerged that £225 million is needed to fund its preparation over 2 years
The Cumbrian project was set to be approved at the end of next year
By Neil Craven for The Mail on Sunday
PUBLISHED: 19:29, 18 February 2017 | UPDATED: 19:29, 18 February 2017
The future of Moorside, one of Britain’s three big nuclear projects, was thrown into doubt last night after it emerged that cash-strapped Toshiba and its partner Engie needed to find £225 million in the next two years to fund its preparation.
The Cumbrian project was set to be approved at the end of next year, to join Hinkley Point C in Somerset and Wylfa in North Wales as the nuclear alternative to coal and gas.
But last week Toshiba, which owns 60 per cent of Moorside’s would-be builder NuGeneration, threw the project into doubt with its announcement it was pulling out of large nuclear power projects after revealing a £5 billion writedown.
The future of Moorside, one of Britain’s three big nuclear projects, was thrown into doubt last night over major funding issues (
Toshiba has said it will continue to fund the project, in Sellafield, to approval stage, leaving open the question of who will build the reactors.
But documents filed at Companies House reveal that a further £225 million is needed from Toshiba and Engie by the end of 2018 to gain Whitehall approval, potentially adding to the firm’s financial woes.
Toshiba and Engie have already invested £425 million.
This will fuel expectations that the Government needs to formalise Britain’s nuclear ambitions with taxpayers’ cash, as most projects are run by foreign firms.
An announcement could come as soon as this summer, amid growing concerns about the viability of big nuclear projects.
Toshiba confirmed the figures but added it ‘cannot comment on anything further at this time.’ Labour MP Paul Flynn, whose Newport West constituency overlooks Hinkley Point across the Bristol Channel, called for a reassessment of the power generation plans for the next 60 years. He said: ‘These are huge decisions and it’s important to get them right.
‘We need this to be done on an all-party basis with opinions based on science, not wishful thinking. There are problems both with Toshiba and EDF.’
He said a recent report had identified the ‘immense power’ of tidal and hydro schemes which were ‘eternal, entirely predictable and non-polluting’.
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