The withdrawal of Toshiba from the Moorside nuclear power station project is ‘a cruel blow’ to the north west economy on which thousands of future jobs are depending, Unite said today (November 8).
Unite said the government had a major responsibility for Toshiba’s decision to wind up its NuGen business, which was behind the Cumbrian plant’s construction, because ministers had adopted ‘a hands off ’ approach to UK energy policy.
“Today’s news is a cruel blow to the prospects for the north west economy and the future of thousands of highly skilled jobs in construction and operations, once it was up and running,” said Unite regional secretary for the north west Ritchie James.
“It is our view that it is not too late to revive this project, but it needs the active engagement of government, including the commitment of public money,” he added.
“Moorside could be a powerhouse, literally, for the regional economy, and we will work with other stakeholders, such as local authorities, to see that this project eventually comes to fruition.
“The hands off attitude of the government has been the elephant in the room and today this ‘one step removed’ approach has come home to roost. This is another example of the government’s chaotic attitude to policy making.
“Unite will be seeking an urgent meeting with business secretary Greg Clark to chart a way forward to see what can be done to get this project kick-started again.
“In an increasingly uncertain and dangerous world, there needs to be a joined-up UK energy strategy for the decades ahead to keep the lights on and the wheels of industry turning.”
Toshiba had been trying to sell NuGen, after French company ENGIE pulled out. South Korean state-owned company Kepco had been in the frame as a buyer. It is predicted Moorside could have provided seven per cent of the UK’s electricity needs.