Union repeats call for intervention to prevent nuclear project from falling apart

The GMB union has once again demanded that the government “stop faffing” and step in to save the Moorside nuclear development from falling apart.

The union made the comments after Utility Week reported yesterday that National Grid has shelved a multi-billion project to connect the proposed plant to the transmission network.

GMB slammed the government for “continued dithering” following the latest in a series of setbacks.

The 102-mile North West Coast Connections project was slated to become “the biggest new power line since the electricity network was built” but has been placed on hold while Moorside developer NuGen undertakes a “strategic review” of the plant.

Toshiba, the main shareholder in the NuGen consortium, is reportedly considering mothballing Moorside as it faces up to huge losses stemming from its US nuclear arm Westinghouse, which it said could threaten the survival of the whole company.  

In April, Engie decided to sell its stake in NuGen, leaving Toshiba as the sole owner. The French firm made the decision after Westinghouse, which was slated to supply three of its AP1000 reactors for Moorside, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

“How many kicks in the teeth for the desperately needed new nuclear plant at Moorside will it take to bring politicians of all colours to their senses?,” asked GMB national secretary Justin Bowden.

“Britain must have the reliable zero carbon nuclear power that Moorside will bring as part of the balanced energy mix, alongside renewables and gas.”

GMB represents workers in the nuclear industry and has repeatedly called for the government intervene by providing public financing for the development.   

“The collapse of Toshiba spectacularly demonstrates why the UK should be in control of its own energy destiny,” added Bowden.

Earlier this week, industry body New Nuclear Watch Europe urged all political parties to commit to providing government loans for new nuclear projects as it outlined seven policy “must-haves” ahead of the upcoming general election. 

What to read next