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Contractors demand answers about Moorside nuclear plant

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Contractors have demanded answers from the government about Moorside nuclear plant, after Toshiba announced its decision to wind up its nuclear arm NuGen.

The Cumbrian scheme had been projected to supply 7% of the nation’s energy as well as creating between 14,000-21,000 jobs over the lifetime of the project.

Director of the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (North West) Guy Lawson labelled the decision a “hammer blow” to the industry.

“The decision to wind up NuGen is a potential hammer blow to the nuclear sector in Cumbria, and the local economy,” Lawson said. “The area is home to the UK’s greatest concentration of companies and workers with genuinely world-leading capability in nuclear delivery and operation.

“It is essential that this competitive advantage and the nuclear skills base are maintained, through sustained investment in nuclear new build, harnessing this capability and delivering low carbon energy to power the UK economy.

He added: “CECA has long campaigned for new nuclear as a vital component of the mixed portfolio of electricity generation the UK will need as we transition towards a low-carbon economy.

“With Toshiba’s decision now made, we call on the government to act promptly, working with industry to consider how the Moorside project can continue.”

Toshiba had been looking to sell the project onto another developer for the last 18 months, after their nuclear division Westinghouse, who formed part of the NuGen joint venture tasked with the project, collapsed in March 2017. The plant was planned to supply 7% of the UKs energy.

A preferred buyer was thought to have been found in South Korea’s state-owned Korean Electric Power Corporation (Kepco), but talks fell through.

A spokesperson said that while NuGen is winding down, the site could still host a plant if another developer steps forward.

A core set of NuGen staff will remain to implement the hand over to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, who owns the site.

NuGen has retained a team to support the implementation of a winding-up process and will work with Toshiba and its other stakeholders.

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