Skip to content

Toshiba’s UK withdrawal puts Cumbria nuclear plant in doubt

November 8, 2018

By Paul Homewood


The UK’s nuclear strategy takes another blow:



Toshiba plans to wind up its UK nuclear business after failing to find a buyer, dealing a potentially fatal blow to plans for a new nuclear power station in Cumbria.

Its NuGen division was behind the development of the Moorside project.

Toshiba’s decision will dent the UK’s plans to develop new nuclear power stations.

Unions have criticised the government for failing to intervene and ensure the project went ahead.

The Japanese firm said it would start the wind-up process in January.

"After considering the additional costs entailed in continuing to operate NuGen, Toshiba recognises that the economically rational decision is to withdraw from the UK nuclear power plant construction project, and has resolved to take steps to wind-up NuGen," the Toshiba statement said.

Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) had been a preferred bidder to take over the nuclear power plant project, but those talks fell through after more than a year of negotiations.


Currently we have 9.3 GW of nuclear capacity, but only Sizewell B with 1.2 GW is due to still be open after 2030. It is possible of course that some of the older plants may be allowed to run for an extra year or two, but that would only be a sticking plaster.

There is also Hinkley B to come on stream in 2025 with a further 3.2 GW.


Excluding wind and solar, capacity is already extremely tight at 65 GW. Given the likely closure of all coal plants, old gas and nuclear ones, capacity come 2030 could be as low as 38 GW.

Capacity Closures Additions Capacity
GW 2017

Nuclear 9 -8 3 4
Coal 13 -13 0
CCGT 32 -10 1 23
Hydro 1 1
Biomass/Waste 6 6
Other thermal 4 4
TOTAL 65 -31 4 38


The state of play for other potential new nuclear is:


  • Sizewell C – 3.2 GW – earliest likely start date is 2031. Issues surrounding Sizewell include:

a) Problems with EDF raising capital

b) Ongoing problems with reactor design

c) The cost of electricity – although a strike price has provisionally been agreed, effectively at £86.50/MWh (as part of a joint deal with Hinkley), this may not be acceptable to the UK Government if they can source offshore wind more cheaply.

It may also not offer EDF a sufficient return either.

  • Bradwell B – This is also an EDF site, but it is well behind Sizewell in planning, so is unlikely to be ready until well into the 2030s.
  • Wylfa – 2.9 GW – this is well down the track, with Final Investment Decision  due next year. Ultimate owner is Hitachi. Key will be the strike price, which may need government putting down some equity into the scheme. Operations could start as early as the mid 2020s.
  • Oldbury – this is another Hitachi site, but construction will not start until after Wylfa is operational.

Even if Wylfa goes through, we will still have less nuclear capacity in 2030 than we do now. And certainly far too little dispatchable capacity in total.

  1. November 8, 2018 8:06 pm

    This is the result of over 20 years of political incompetence on a grand scale. Had the original plans gone ahead, there would have been a series of 5 plants like Sizewell B and then there would have been the expertise to build a series of next generation plants. But no, the idiots were in charge. From 1992 to 2008, we didn’t even have a department of energy, but then when it was re-invented we had the biggest incompetents imaginable – Miliband, Huhne, Davey, Rudd, Perry – none of whom had a clue.

    It’s definitely time to buy your own generator and a large stock of fuel.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      November 8, 2018 10:00 pm

      Phillip, there was a classic quote from some woman on – I think it was R4 PM – the news tonight when she claimed it was no bad thing that nuclear was off the menu as the country needed ‘low carbon’ power generation. You could not make it up.

    • Iain Reid permalink
      November 9, 2018 10:41 am


      I have already bought a 20KVA diesel generator for our microbrewery.

  2. David permalink
    November 8, 2018 8:40 pm

    Maybe Wickes or B&M will be selling us mini nuclear plants to run in the back garden by then!

    • mikewaite permalink
      November 8, 2018 8:52 pm

      With the sticker :”Made in China”

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      November 8, 2018 9:35 pm

      Apparently the strategic masters of our energy policy have effectively killed it off.

      • CheshireRed permalink
        November 8, 2018 10:19 pm

        Too good, that’s why.

        How do utterly absurd ‘renewables’ compete against those little bad boys?
        Proven, reliable dispatchable energy v dogshit on stilts?
        Answer: they don’t. Not in a million years.
        Solution: ditch the reliable stuff and invest into dogshit on stilts! Why, of course. So obvious.

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        November 9, 2018 8:46 am

        From the report you linked, Grim:

        “It is unlikely that anyone is actually that incompetent, so it looks very much as if Greg Clark has been outwitted by greens in his ministry.”

        Incompetent? Look no further than Claire Perry! She and Clark have not been outwitted by the Greens, they have been taken over by them. As I told Perry, I did NOT vote Green at the last election!!

  3. November 8, 2018 10:05 pm

    Looks like all those millions of EVs won’t have any juice to put in their batteries. Smart meters will make sure of that.

    • Dave Ward permalink
      November 9, 2018 9:49 am

      “Looks like all those millions of EVs won’t have any juice to put in their batteries”

      Watching the TV news showing the long queues of traffic trying to escape the latest wildfires in the US, I couldn’t help think what they would be doing if (or when) the same situation occurs in 10-20 years time…

      • Gerry, England permalink
        November 9, 2018 1:45 pm

        Those batteries will burn very nicely when the flames engulf the queues of stationary cars.

  4. Athelstan permalink
    November 9, 2018 12:40 am

    itv had an item on this tonight, calder hall, windscale, seascale, sellafield wotevah…….. interviewing our old mate ”
    No more BBC platform for climate change deniers? It’d be about time
    Richard Black…………..”

    In tonight’s 22.00 news, Itv they did query the “go electric vehicle fallacy’ – ow we gonna run all of dem? but the rest of it about the usual guff of ‘green energy’ boondoggles making up the ‘shortfall’ – I thought that was hilarious – the jokers of the media they’re soooo funny!

    I’d rather hoped that Toshiba would have pulled thru’ on this but Japan is the master and Japan of course post Fukushima are binning the nuclear vision in favour of a very big return to loverly jubbly coal, now there’s irony for you.

    Meantime, Britain goes hell for bust and into the darkness we come – three cheers for, thegood old tories, and supa doopa theresa and claire perry eh?

    • dave permalink
      November 9, 2018 6:34 am

      “…making up the shortfall…”

      I just found some unused AAA batteries in a chest of drawers being donated.
      Will that do?

      • Gerry, England permalink
        November 9, 2018 1:46 pm

        Have a look for a youtube video of the new battery powered Mercedes using AA batteries. A real hoot.

      • yonason permalink
        November 9, 2018 9:15 pm

        @Gerry, England

        A real hoot it is.
        [video src="" /]

        Takes a bit of time to load, but it’s worth it.

    • dave permalink
      November 9, 2018 7:07 am

      I think a sober assessment is that for the next ten years the country WILL have enough power for its established needs – but nothing at all for electric cars – at high COST, and subject to DISASTER if we have a winter like 1947/48 or 1962/3.

      • dave permalink
        November 9, 2018 7:12 am

        Incidentally, RSS confirmed the UAH analysis of the satellite data for brightness temperature anomalies for October, with a rise of 0.05 C in the lower troposphere. Of course, because of the time of year, the actual brightness temperature dropped by much more than this.

  5. Coeur de Lion permalink
    November 9, 2018 9:50 am

    What about Paxman’s grandchildren that he was so concerned about?

  6. November 9, 2018 11:22 am

    Surely this is when Rolls Royce should be contracted to install 16 of its SMRs. They could be in place and running, if they started now, in just four years and provide 7GW without requiring any new ‘nuclear’ sites, as all 16 could be built on existing sites, without requiring any demolition of existing plant.
    The likely price of energy would be about £45 per MWh (if fewer were installed that might rise to £55 per MWh).
    The trouble is that we have a prize idiot, Greg Clark MP, as a so-called energy secretary who won’t listen to reason – probably can’t.

    • Jack Broughton permalink
      November 9, 2018 4:15 pm

      SMRs would be the right long-term solution for the UK: reliable power and a sellable product worldwide too: therefore, clearly out of the question.

      We look likely to be asking uncle-Vlad for some of his economic, well proven nuclear power stations, as EdF seem to have lost their way and costs have gone stupid ….. oh no, that would upset our controllers in the US of A.

  7. November 9, 2018 12:28 pm

    Private industry naturally wants to build something bigger, better and way more expensive than the previous versions, but there is no need to, because demand is static or falling. As the existing reactors have been running fine for decades simply build new versions of them to the exact same designs.

    The way more expensive option is also way more risky, and the cost of risk in the nuclear industry is enormous.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      November 9, 2018 1:47 pm

      It could be that the regulations have changed so much to make that impossible.

    • November 9, 2018 4:35 pm

      Rolls Royce, by contrast, wants to built smaller, cheaper and simpler. Once the first SMR has clearance then every subsequent plant has clearance with no limit to how many are built because they are all identical. Each costs around £6 billion, can, as stated above, be built in four years, guaranteed, more or less whatever the weather. All are monitored 24/7 and any problems would show up way before they caused anything serious to occur. They are earthquake proof and bomb proof including direct impact from a 747. What’s not to like?

  8. Gerry, England permalink
    November 9, 2018 1:54 pm

    It is interesting to see a post where the capabilities of ministers are called into question just after Raab has admitted in public that he had no idea the Dover-Calais link was so important to our economy. The subject for Dr North’s piece today is how Brexit has exposed the politicians as being utterly clueless along with the legacy media. The internet has made this possible as we see here with Paul’s excellent research of the facts so that us regulars here are actually very much better informed than ministers. The same is true for other sites such as WattsUpWithThat. When faced with a member of the untermensch showing a much better grasp of a subject, the prestige elite retreat into their bubble where the media protect them from reality. Our challenge is how remove the clueless elite and replace them with informed people.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: