Toshiba’s board meets on Thursday to make a decision on the future of the developer behind Cumbria’s £15 billion nuclear plant.

The future of the NuGen – the developer behind the £15 billion Moorside nuclear power station development – will be decided on Thursday.

The sole owner of the company, Toshiba, will hold a board meeting in Tokyo to decide whether to wind it up or keep it going in the hope of a deal being struck.

The meeting represents crunch time for the economy-boosting project, which could create thousands of jobs in Cumbria and generate around seven per cent of the UK’s energy needs.

The future of NuGen, and the Moorside project, has been hanging in the balance since August, when Toshiba stripped Korean utility Kepco of “preferred bidder” to buy it.

Kepco has had a deal for NuGen on the table since March but will not sign on the dotted line until it has undertaken a study in to the risks and profitability of applying RAB model to finance Moorside, which allows government regulators to ensure stable returns and finance through government support.

Meanwhile, Canadian investor Brookfield – who bought Westinghouse from Toshiba in a deal earlier this year – has entered the fray as a potential buyer for NuGen.

And while talks were said to have accelerated in recent weeks, it remains unclear whether it will be a viable bid for NuGen, which Toshiba wants to offload by the end of the financial year.

Toshiba has set itself the deadline as it looks to divest completely from nuclear activity. As previously reported by in-Cumbria, its board members need to be convinced a deal is still doable in the timescales if it is to keep NuGen going. If not, then it will wind up the company.

NuGen chief executive, Tom Samson, has praised Toshiba for its commitment to NuGen. He has personally vowed to fight “tooth and nail” to keep the project alive after a restructure saw NuGen’s staff drop from around 100 to 32 in the wake of the Kepco deal stalling.

“Toshiba have been a tremendous shareholder in really quite unique circumstances,” he said.

“Their commitment to NuGen has been unflinching despite the fact they are looking to find a buyer, despite the commitment to leave, they have not stepped back from their support to us funding a solution.”

Toshiba was left as the sole owner of NuGen in early 2017 after minority shareholder Engine pulled out of the consortium in the wake of its then subsidiary Westinghouse, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the USA.

Westinghouse – which had been poised to supply three of its AP1000 reactors to Moorside – made the move having overpaid by several billion dollars for another nuclear construction and services business.

The union GMB has been one of the many voices calling for the Government to intervene, and criticising its reliance on foreign companies for delivering nationally-important energy infrastructure projects.

It has renewed demands for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to be scrapped and a Nuclear Development Agency created, which it says should be tasked with building a small modular reactor (SMR) on the Moorside site.

The NDA continues to own the Moorside site, having leased it to NuGen, and it will remain earmarked as a source for new energy generation if the Government carries it forward in to its policy statement for 2026 to 2035.

Justin Bowden, GMB national secretary, said: “A new nuclear power station at Moorside is vital for the future energy security of the country and the economy of West Cumbria.

“A golden opportunity exists to take control and develop a small modular nuclear reactor in a part of this country which has a ground-breaking nuclear past that can be repeated in the future.

“The lessons from the collapse of Toshiba should have been well and truly learned long ago.” Relying on foreign companies and countries for our essential energy needs is utterly irresponsible.

“As well as eradicating the uncertainty and securing future electricity supply, a newly formed Nuclear Development Authority taking control at Moorside would make complete sense for taxpayers. It is time for the Government to step up.”