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A future more uncertain?

Worries over power station future
Hajera Blagg, Tuesday, April 11th, 2017


Serious concerns have been raised again over the future of the Moorside nuclear power station in Cumbria, as it emerged today that its soon-to-be sole investor Toshiba (April 11) is on the brink of collapse.

 

 

In a financial update twice-delayed that has not yet been approved by auditors, Toshiba revealed astounding losses of nearly £4bn in the nine months to December last year – it’s now possible that the company could be delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

 

 

The company itself said in a statement that its future viability is in doubt.

 

 

“..substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern exists as of the filing date of the quarterly report,” the statement read.

 

 

Just last week, the only other investor in the Moorside project, the French firm ENGIE, pulled out of the NuGen consortium and sold its 40 per cent stake in the nuclear power station to Toshiba.

 

 

Unite raised concerns then that ENGIE’s decision to pull out could lead to unsustainable delays, just after the Hinkley Point C project experienced years of its own delays — it was only give the green light last year.

 

 

Now, says Unite national officer Kevin Coyne, the future is even more uncertain and he reiterated Unite’s call for public investment in major infrastructure projects.

 

 

“The latest news about the very poor financial health of Toshiba raises further concerns about its involvement in the construction of the Moorside nuclear power station in Cumbria,” he said.

 

 

“This follows hard on the heels of the Toshiba-owned Westinghouse Electric Company, due to supply the three AP1000 reactors for Moorside, applying for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US.”

 

 

Last week, Coyne noted that the Springfields nuclear fuel manufacturing facility, near Preston, is also operated by Westinghouse and is in line to supply the fuel for Moorside.

 

 

‘Top priority’

“Unite has a 1,000 members at Springfields and their future employment prospects are a top priority for the union,” he said.

 

 

“Unite renews its call to the business secretary Greg Clark to step in and pledge public investment to ensure that the project goes ahead on schedule, as Toshiba is in deep financial trouble and has a big question mark over its future,” Coyne added.

 

 

“The importance of Moorside can’t be underestimated as it is expected to generate 20,000 highly skilled jobs during its construction and when it is up-and-running – and also supply seven per cent of the UK’s electricity needs from 2025.

 

 

“Unite has repeatedly warned the government that ‘the lights could go out’ in the future without a coherent, joined-up energy policy.”

 

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