THE company behind plans for nuclear new build in Cumbria has welcomed comments by Prime Minister Theresa May on the project.

NuGen made the statement after Mrs May spoke about the proposals for a new power plant at Moorside, near Sellafield, during a visit to Copeland yesterday.

She was asked about the project after one of its key backers - Toshiba, which has a 60 per cent stake in NuGen - revealed it was on track for losses of 390 billion yen (£2.7 billion) for the year to March.

The Japanese giant has said it remains committed to Moorside.

The extent of this commitment remains in doubt though as Toshiba has said it will eventually seek to sell its shares in the project and it would seek not to "take on any risk" from the proposed plant's construction.

Mrs May said: "The consortium involved in Moorside has been absolutely clear. They have reconfirmed their commitment to Moorside."

Tom Samson, the firm's chief executive, said: “The comments by the Prime Minister further demonstrate the UK’s commitment to nuclear new build and recognise the importance of the Moorside project and the vital role nuclear, and NuGen, have to play.

“NuGen remains committed to developing and delivering the next generation of nuclear power in the UK. The strong support of the UK Government strengthens our investment case for safe, reliable, affordable, low-carbon energy using proven technology.

“NuGen has been working with the Government to ensure Moorside will feature as a vital part of the UK’s future energy mix and we will continue to collaborate with the Government as we address the challenges and move the project forward.”

Mrs May was also accused of "ducking" concerns about Moorside's future by union leaders following her comments.