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It’s vital project is given certainty in wake of Westinghouse bankruptcy says union

GMB, the union for nuclear workers, is demanding government reassurances after a major finiancal backer of the Moorside reactor went bust.

Westinghouse, Toshiba’s US nuclear unit, has filed for US bankruptcy protection after struggling with hefty losses that have thrown its Japanese parent company into a crisis. [1]

Westinghouse has suffered huge cost overruns at two US projects in Georgia and South Carolina.

In addition the Japanese government confirmed on Wednesday that it was aware of Toshiba’s plans.

The GMB raised concerns during the winter [2] when Toshiba initially alerted investors it was in financial difficulty.

At the time NuGen the Company delivering the Moorside development, appeared to say that it was confident the project was still on track on the basis that Toshiba initially hoped to sell its majority stake in Westinghouse.

Toshiba was also twice given permission to delay reporting its earnings until 11 April 2017.

The nuclear services business brings in about one-third of the industrial giant’s revenue.

Toshiba says it expects a £5bn write-down because some of its US nuclear assets were worth far less than estimated.

GMB said that the bankruptcy could also have far-reaching consequences for the UK’s nuclear future plans.

Chris Jukes GMB Senior Organiser said:

“Toshiba has a 60% stake in NuGen, a joint venture with France’s Engie, which has the contract to build a new nuclear power plant in West Cumbria.

“As part of Toshiba, Westinghouse is to build the reactors for the new plant.

“A collapse of the firm could delay the project or even put its entire future in limbo.

“This project could bring thousands of jobs to West Cumbria, lead to huge regeneration and infrastructure investment and provide as much as 7% of the UK’s domestic energy needs.

“It is vital that this project is given the certainty it needs and therefore we are calling on an urgent government announcement to give clear and unambiguous clarity for the short, medium and long term future of Moorside.”