THE £15 billion Moorside nuclear power station in Cumbria has been scrapped after having failed to secure a buyer.

Toshiba announced the wind-up of NuGen, the developer behind the economy-boosting project set, to be built on land next to the Sellafield site in West Cumbria earlier today.

It followed a discussion of Toshiba’s board in Tokyo, and an official announcement was made in the early hours.

The project was set to have created thousands of jobs during the construction and operation stage and generated around seven per cent of the UK’s energy needs.

However, its future has been hanging in the balance since the summer after the Japanese giant stripped state-owned Korean utility Kepco of “preferred bidder” status because of the “prolonged time” it was taking to seal a deal.

The move resulted in NuGen reducing its team of 100 to 32 as it focused on helping Toshiba find a buyer, with chief executive Tom Samson vowing to “fight tooth and nail” to salvage the project.

Toshiba has said it wanted to offload NuGen by the end of the financial year, as it looked to divest completely from nuclear activity, but could make the decision to wind up the company at its board meeting, if it was not convinced a deal was achievable.

Meanwhile, Canadian asset management firm Brookfield – which snapped up Westinghouse in a $4.6bn deal in January this year – had emerged as a potential buyer and talks with Toshiba were said to have accelerated in recent weeks.

Under the ownership of Toshiba, Westinghouse had been poised to develop three of its AP1000 reactors at Moorside. But the plans disintegrated after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the USA in early 2017 having overpaid by several billion dollars for another nuclear construction and services business. Toshiba’s decision to wind up NuGen suggests a deal with Brookfield looks unlikely.

In recent weeks, MPs, business leaders, councillors and unions have all called for the Government to intervene to keep NuGen and Moorside alive, although in a TV interview at last month’s Conservative Party Conference, Prime Minister Theresa May repeatedly dismissed it as a “commercial issue”.

Earlier this week, GMB national secretary Justin Bowden called for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to be scrapped and a nuclear development authority to be created to develop a small modular reactor on the site.

“Relying on foreign companies and countries for our essential energy needs is utterly irresponsible,” he added.