Toshiba's decision to cancel its Moorside nuclear power project in Cumbria will put energy security, emissions targets and jobs at risk according to specialist stakeholder engagement firm 52M Consulting.
Reacting to the news, managing director, Lee Petts, said: "The UK's current fleet of operational nuclear reactors reliably supply low carbon electricity that meets around 20% of our needs, but they are due to close between 2023 and 2036 leaving a big gap to fill.
"Without new nuclear projects such as Moorside to replace them, we are going to find it difficult to meet our demand for electricity and will find ourselves increasingly reliant on imports and possibly even coal, which would be a disaster for our emissions reduction efforts.
"As well as new nuclear, there is a pressing need to get on with building more renewable capacity, backed-up by energy storage and natural gas, preferably from the shale rock that underlies much of Northern England, but that means communities being more accepting of new energy infrastructure."
The Moorside project was expected to secure up to 21,000 new jobs in the North West during construction and operation, which 52M Consulting says are desperately needed. Building the three planned reactors, costing £15 billion, would have supported the region's existing nuclear supply chain, including the Springfields Fuel Fabrication facility near Preston. It would have been capable of supplying 7 per cent of the UK's electricity demand.
Earlier this week, GMB national secretary Justin Bowden said that relying on foreign companies and countries for our essential energy needs is "utterly irresponsible".
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