FEARS continue to grow over plans for Cumbria's planned new power plant, after it was reported a key mover is "unlikely" to get involved in future building work outside Japan.

The News & Star revealed this week that Toshiba - which has a 60 per cent stake in Nugen, the company which plans to build at Moorside, near Sellafield - has put its involvement in the project under review.

New reports though - from American financial newspaper The Wall Street Journal and the Reuters news agency - have quoted unnamed executives who have said the company will abandon the nuclear industry altogether.

The Japanese giant's president Satoshi Tsunakawa has also said: “It is unlikely that we will carry out construction work for future nuclear power plant projects, in order to eliminate risk.”

He made these comments in a question and answer session after the firm announced its review of all of its nuclear operations outside of Japan, when asked about the construction of power plant in the United States.

A spokeswoman for Toshiba though said: "To reiterate, Toshiba is reviewing the future of the nuclear power business outside Japan, but no decision has been made yet. We will offer more specifics on February 14, when we announce FY2016 (financial year 2016) third quarter results.

Last month Toshiba announced its US subsidiary, Westinghouse Electric, may have overpaid - by several billion dollars - for another nuclear construction and services business. Following this, its shares fell dramatically.

It is now reviewing its involvement in all other overseas projects as a way of dealing with this situation and also plans to sell its semiconductor business.

If Moorside does go ahead, Westinghouse, which was once owned by British Nuclear Fuels, was scheduled to supply three of its AP1000 reactors.

Reports in Japan have also circulated which say that the company may seek to cut is 60 per cent stake in NuGen to 50 per cent or less.

The spokeswoman replied to this: "Since Toshiba joined NuGen in 2014 by taking 60 per cent stake, we have been saying that our investment in NuGen is to secure opportunity to construct three AP1000 reactors at Moorside, and there is the possibility of diluting Toshiba shares in NuGen at the time of power generation.

"We have also be saying that we are actively engaged in exploring a universe of investment opportunities to bring in additional investments both debt and equity."

NuGen said earlier this week that its investors - Toshiba and French firm ENERGIE - were both still committed to Moorside.

A spokesman for the firm said it had no further comment.

When fully operational, Moorside would have a combined capacity of up to 3.8GW, enough to power 6m homes and supply 7.5 per cent of the UK's electricity needs.

The first is due to come online in the mid-2020s.

Up to 6,000 people would be working on the Moorside site at any one time. In total, 21,000 jobs are expected to be created in total by the Moorside development.