A business membership organisation is offering NuGen employees facing redundancy help find new roles in Cumbria’s nuclear supply chain.

Britain’s Energy Coast Business Cluster (BECBC) had issued an open invitation to staff at the Moorside developer who this week learned they would be losing their jobs in response to delays over a deal for its ownership.

Around 70 staff and contractors based across the UK are to leave NuGen after talks between current owners Toshiba and Korean utility Kepco stalled, with sources in Korea blaming a shift in the UK Government’s profit models for the £15 billion project.

Fears have been expressed that the skills of those set to lose their jobs may also be lost to Cumbria’s nuclear sector at a time when it is trying to attract more talent.

Now BECBC has offered to help match those looking for new opportunities with its 300 plus member organisations in a bid to retain skills and support the region’s economically important nuclear supply chain.

BECBC director John Berry said while he hoped a solution could be reached to progress Moorside, there would be opportunities for NuGen staff with the right skills.

“BECBC is made up of people representing all types of organisations who are passionate about ensuring long term success for west Cumbria and we all help one another to achieve this,” he told in-Cumbria.

“BECBC will be able to utilise our network to match skilled people with organisations with the gaps they need to fill. Businesses will always find a way to collaborate and support their communities when needed.”

Mr Berry added that BECBC had also been successful in linking up a job seeker with one of its members, which range from Cumbrian-based SMEs to major global players.

He said: “At the most recent monthly meeting we heard from one audience member who mentioned she was looking for a job a few months ago and is now in full-time employment with one of our members organisations.”

NuGen announced earlier this week that its headcount would fall from around 100 to 32 as it refocuses its efforts on helping Toshiba to secure a new investor.

Talks are continuing between Toshiba and Kepco, despite the Korean Government-owned company being stripped of preferred bidder status back in July due to the protracted time it was taking to secure a deal.

Sources in Korea say the UK Government’s apparent insistence on a regulated asset base model for the project is behind the delay – an approach that allows government regulators to ensure stable returns and finance through government support.

Toshiba is also understood to be talking to other investors to buy NuGen, which is set to develop the £15 billion nuclear power station on land adjacent to Sellafield.

Fears have been growing over the future of the project, which would create thousands of new jobs and generate around seven per cent of the UK’s energy supply.

BECBC’s chairman, Ivan Baldwin, stressed Cumbria’s importance as a place for nuclear investment.

“Cumbria is still the best possible place in the UK for an investment into nuclear power generation – the UK needs Moorside and Cumbria is keen to deliver it,” he said.

“We have the expertise and supply chain already in place here – that’s not changed – and BECBC is keen to promote the area as a Centre of Nuclear Excellence to interested parties, whether they be overseas partners or potential investors, in the coming months.”