The £10bn Moorside nuclear power station project in Cumbria is set to be delayed by up to five years.
The delay comes as the project backers look for a new investor.
It is being developed by Nugen, which was a joint venture which with 40% made up of Engie and 60% held by partner Toshiba.
Engie announced earlier it was pulling out of NuGen, citing “significant challenges” facing the JV as the reason for pulling out. Moorside’s reactor designer Westinghouse, owned by Toshiba, filed for US bankruptcy protection earlier this year, although Toshiba stressed its European operations would not be affected.
Now NuGen’s chief executive Tom Samson has told Reuters that it expects to secure a new partner early next year.
“There are multiple credible bidders and we expect to find a new buyer, and a clear way forward by early next year,” he said.
It is understood these include Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) and China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN).
Samson told Reuters the new invester would want to put in place a new delivery plan and therefore there would be a delay to the project.
“Clearly there will be a shift in the start date from 2025 to later in the 2020s, but the plant could still be up and running before 2030,” he said.
Nuclear workers union GMB has called on the government to intervene on the issue.
“We welcome the honesty from NuGen and ask why the government is so silent and failing to show leadership on Moorside,” said GMB senior organiser Chris Jukes.
“Britain needs this vital new infrastructure, and the reliable zero carbon electricity it will produce, and it is the government’s responsibility to make sure it is built and in a timely manner.”