Nuclear options meltdown as Japanese pull out

Darnell Taylor
November 10, 2018

Toshiba's decision to wind-up its United Kingdom nuclear construction operation, Nugen, is a serious set back for Government plans to develop next-generation nuclear power as part of its shift to a low carbon economy.

Korea Electric Power, Korea's state-run power corporation, has been in talks with Toshiba to buy a stake in NuGen.

The Japanese engineering giant is to wind up its NuGen business, which was going to build three reactors at Moorside in Cumbria, enough to generate 7% of the UK's energy needs.

"Finally, despite the sad outcome for NuGen, I remain resolute in my personal belief in the importance of nuclear as an integral and essential part of our future energy mix as a country and we must find solutions to the new nuclear challenge if we are to have any hope of meeting our goal of delivering a low carbon fleet in the United Kingdom".

The Japanese conglomerate said Thursday that it was laying off 7,000 staff, or about 5% of its total workforce, as part of a new, five-year strategy.

The station in Somerset, Greg Clark said, was "the first of a wave of new nuclear plants".

"The announcement comes after 18 months of negotiations with a range of potential new owners". Unfortunately, given that the RAB model is still in early stages of development, has not been determined as policy yet and still faces a lengthy legislative process before it can be applied to new nuclear, it has not proven possible to find a buyer willing to take that level of policy and legislative risk when entering the United Kingdom; hence we have been unable to bring an acquisition to a conclusion.

It was unclear how many jobs were at risk but NuGen said it had retained a team to support the process.

Vice President embarks on three-day visit to France
Trump's official mission on the trip is to participate in ceremonies marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One. Macron told Europe 1 radio that the "main victim" of the U.S. withdrawal from the INF accord was Europe and its security.

"The area is home to the UK's greatest concentration of companies and workers with genuinely world-leading capability in nuclear delivery and operation".

"Nuclear has an important role to play as part of the UK's diverse energy mix as we transition to a low carbon economy, but in each case projects must provide value for money for consumers and taxpayers".

When the government gave the green light to the Hinkley Point C plant two years ago, the business secretary hailed the decision as the start of "a new era of United Kingdom nuclear power".

Justin Bowden, national officer of the GMB union, said: "The British Government has blood on its hands as the final sad but predictable nail is banged into the coffin of Toshiba's jinxed jaunt into nuclear power".

"Relying in this way on foreign companies for our country's essential energy needs was always irresponsible".

Greenpeace UK executive director John Sauven said: "The end of the Moorside plan represents a failure of the Government's nuclear gamble". But after more than a year of negotiations, a deal could not be secured. We are immensely grateful to Toshiba's contribution to our new build efforts and support of the United Kingdom supply chain and I wish them well in their future business aspirations. The announcement sent Toshiba shares up almost 13%.

"Unfortunately, it's not surprising given the Government's long indecision and refusal to step in".

Sara Medi Jones, acting general secretary of CND, said: "Nuclear energy isn't just dirty and unsafe, this announcement shows once again it's not economically viable".

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