The developer behind the planned £10bn Moorside nuclear plant has announced it is to cut its workforce in half due to delays in the sale of the business.
NuGen revealed in a statement that it had concluded an employee consultation process and would begin a phased reduction in headcount.
The developer said: “This consultation served to identify the posts that will be required to finalise and complete a transaction for the sale of NuGen and as a result, the team of over 100 will reduce to fewer than 40.”
It said the reason behind the job cuts was due the prolonged time it had taken for Toshiba, Moorside’s owners, to finalise its sale to Korean developer Kepco.
Kepco looked to have saved the embattled scheme last December when it was named preferred bidder ahead of China’s CGN.
However, Kepco was stripped of its preferred bidder status in August after negotiations failed to reach a conclusion.
NuGen said: “For over a year, Toshiba has pursued a sale of NuGen to Kepco.
“Due to the prolonged time it has taken to reach a conclusion, NuGen has undertaken a review of its size and scale.”
Doubt was first cast on the project last year when Toshiba posted an $8.4bn loss, largely due to a $6.3bn writedown of CB&I Stone & Webster, which was owned by Toshiba’s US subsidiary Westinghouse Electric.
Westinghouse, whose AP1000 reactor was to be used at the Moorside plant, filed for bankruptcy in March 2017.
This prompted Toshiba’s JV partner Engie to exit the scheme by triggering a clause in its contract to sell its 40 per cent stake to Toshiba.
The National Infrastructure Commission called on government to withhold financial support for all but one of the planned new nuclear projects until at least 2025.