MP backs nuclear scheme as Toshiba eyes sale of its share

Westinghouse's nuclear fuel production plant at Salwick
Westinghouse's nuclear fuel production plant at Salwick

Fylde MP Mark Menzies has said he is confident that nuclear jobs in his constituency would not be affected by the financial troubles hitting nuclear giant Westinghouse.

The parent company Toshiba has filed for bankruptcy protection in the US for its Westinghouse LLC arm casting a cloud over the £10bn Moorside nuclear power plant project for which Westinghouse’s Springfields plant at Salwick would produce fuel.

Mr Menzies comments came as Toshiba admitted it would sell its share in the project to build three AP1000 reactors at the site near Sellafield.

He said: “I believe that Westinghouse’s operations in Europe are not impacted by the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings, which is a US process and is not the same as filing for bankruptcy in the UK. Westinghouse has stated that customers in the Europe, Middle East and Africa regions will continue to receive the high-quality products and services they have come to expect from sites such as Springfields.

“I believe that Westinghouse also remains committed to its AP1000 technology, and associated projects, such as Moorside, in West Cumbria, where there are plans for three AP1000 reactors, which would be fuelled from Springfields.”

A Toshiba spokesman said today: “Toshiba is the majority shareholder in NuGen, a project to deliver Europe’s largest new nuclear project at Moorside in West Cumbria, and the Chapter 11 filing by Westinghouse has not changed our basic stance of committing to invest in the project until the final investment decision.

"Since the inception of the project, Toshiba has sought to sell stakes to new investors. This has been our position all along, from the very beginning. However, going forward, Westinghouse’s Chapter 11 filing and recent changes in Toshiba’s policy on the nuclear power business require us to explore all possibilities.”

Westinghouse has raised $800m to protect its core businesses such as the UK nuclear arm which will continue producing goods and offering services.

See also: Questions over nuclear jobs after bankruptcy move