Shockwaves have been felt across the county after Toshiba announced it was pulling the plug on the Moorside power station.

Cumbria’s leading politicians and business people have called for the Government to do all it can to make sure Moorside goes ahead.

West Cumbrian MPs Trudy Harrison and Sue Hayman have been in China, meeting with the Chinese state-backed firm China General Nuclear Power Group and other potential investors.

Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock added: “The move to wind up NuGen is terrible news for the Cumbrian economy and for the country.

“The Government must answer for why it has refused to offer sufficient incentives to keep the deal alive and what it will now do to plug the massive holes in the regional economy and national energy security.

“This cannot be allowed to be the last word on a vital project that has been over a decade in the making.”

A statement by Britain’s Energy Coast Business Cluster said: “The Moorside site remains a particularly competitive option for those looking at siting nuclear energy reactors in the UK.

“BECBC, as a representative of the supply chain, is committed to supporting developments that will reinforce Cumbria’s pre-eminence and the skills and expertise in this area to be invested in the whole fuel cycle.”

Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership chair Lord Inglewood said: “This is clearly disappointing news and Cumbria LEP will continue working with all of our local partners, including our MPs, to promote the importance of Moorside nationally and internationally and to identify alternative nuclear new build options for this nationally important site.”

Jo Lappin, the partnership’s chief executive, added: “This is a sad day for the employees of NuGen, who have worked tirelessly to take the Moorside project forward.

“While disappointing, Moorside remains designated as a site for nuclear new build and here in Cumbria we have world-leading expertise to take this forward.

“We recognise the challenges presented for the NuGen project, however the development of a new nuclear power station at Moorside has the potential to supply up to seven per cent of the UK’s electricity and create thousands of new jobs and therefore remains nationally important.”

Chris Ward, chairman of the Cumbria branch of the Institute of Directors, said although the decision to wind up NuGen was disappointing, it was not “wholly unexpected”.

He said: “The decision to liquidate NuGen comes at the end of a journey littered with poor policy and business decisions. I wouldn’t waste any energy finger-pointing because, while it might give temporary solace, it doesn’t resolve anything.

“What’s needed right now is a candid, process-focused analysis of the Moorside journey from concept to current state, to facilitate the creation of a future-state vision and associated plan. The focus on process is key to creating an environment that nurtures positive outcomes, and avoids the energy-sapping and fruitless apportionment of individual blame.”

Union Unite urged Government ministers to step in to make sure a nuclear new-build goes ahead.

Marianne Birkby, of campaign group Radiation Free Lakeland, said: "We are delighted that the Moorside power station is not going ahead, but NuGen must not be allowed to walk away from that site.

"It needs to be cleaned up and taxpayer should not be picking up the bill.

"As for the jobs it was due to create, there are more jobs to be had in renewable energy and Cumbria is at the forefront of that."