Engie sell stake in West Cumbrian nuclear development

French energy supplier, Engie, have recently agreed to sell their 40% stake in the new build nuclear project, based at Moorside in West Cumbria, to Toshiba, for around £110 million.

Investing 60% in the NuGen consortium in charge of the project in 2014, Toshiba bought 10% from Engie, agreeing to buy the rest of Engie’s share in the event of a default.

This default occurred last week when the company in charge of suppling the nuclear reactors, Westinghouse (a subsidiary of Toshiba) filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States.

Engie have now returned their 40% stake in Toshiba, extricating themselves from the project while a plan to return profitability is decided upon.

In a statement by Engie, they said that they “remain willing to contribute know-how and expertise to the NuGen project and to help with any restructuring with potential new partners.”

NuGen have since comeback with their own statement stating that they are now “fully focused on concluding this shareholding transfer from Engie to Toshiba to enable NuGen’s Moorside Project to drive forward.”

This most recent set back comes after Toshiba reviewed its nuclear operations earlier this year after their acquisition of Westinghouse resulted in a multi-billion-pound write-down.

In terms of the bigger picture, looking at the future of nuclear project in the UK, Greg Clarke, Secretary for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), has already travelled to South Korea to speak with state-owned Kepco, a potential partner for the Moorside project.

A fear that the project may now be scrapped has alarm bells ringing as we begin the process of leaving the European Union. Our energy security is a top priority if we are to keep the lights on and prices down.

In the recent green paper from BEIS entitled “Building Our Industrial Strategy”, energy security and investment in our infrastructure was one of the “ten pillars” needed to shore up the British Economy.

Last year, Love Energy Savings ran a survey asking the British Public whether they would support an increased use of nuclear energy. 40% said they did not know enough about it to make an informed decision which may cause problems as it becomes an ever more prominent feature of our countries fuel mix.

To find out more about nuclear energy you can read our guide here.

Worried about how this latest setback may affect your businesses energy prices? If you are an SME customer, simply call one of our energy experts now for a free, impartial quote on 0800 9888 375. 

Alternatively, if you are a large user or an Engie customers, speak to our corporate team and find out how much you could be saving on 01204 866 241.

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