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expert reaction to report that Toshiba are pulling out of Cumbria nuclear plant

Reactions to news that Toshiba are pulling out of a planned nuclear power plant in Cumbria.

 

Dr Dame Sue Ion DBE FREng FRS, Honorary President of the National Skills Academy for Nuclear and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering

“It is tragic that ceding of control of a vital part of the UK’s energy infrastructure overseas has, through events outside the UK’s control, led to a stall in our aspirations as a nation to replace the generating capacity of our retiring nuclear fleet of reactors – critical for decarbonising the UK economy. It is also devastating for the employees of NuGen who have worked so hard for the past decade to deliver a new nuclear project which would have delivered energy for generations to come.

“A lack of clarity from the UK on the funding model and its timing for developing new nuclear power capacity has contributed to a reluctance to invest by the private sector. There is now significant uncertainty over the intentions for the valuable Moorside site in Cumbria. It is vital that the impetus, knowledge and know-how generated by NuGen are not lost, but are built on as the UK drives towards a future funding model for nuclear power plants.

“The UK has already made significant public and private investment in its advanced manufacturing catapult centres, especially the Nuclear AMRC, and the Fit4 Nuclear programme. This investment brings potential UK players in the supply chain up to the required standards and introduces innovative, time-saving, industry-ready concepts into the sector. Unless progress is maintained with real nuclear projects, this effort and investment will have been for nothing and companies will not have confidence that Government wants nuclear energy to remain a key part of the UK’s future energy mix. Industry could then be unwilling to put the significant investment in building the skills and capacity for nuclear projects.”

 

Declared interests

Acted as an advisor to NuGen’s operating company over summer 2018.

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