Greg Clark, UK business secretary, will visit Seoul this week in a bid to salvage the multibillion pound Moorside nuclear power project in Cumbria. Mr Clark will meet senior South Korean government officials and nuclear industry executives to discuss potential investment in Moorside by Kepco, the state-controlled utility. Toshiba is keen to sell its majority stake in NuGen, the consortium planning to build the Moorside power station, and Kepco is widely considered the most plausible buyer. Kepco confirmed last month that it was interested in joining the Moorside project as part of its efforts to become a force in the global nuclear industry. The company is building several reactors in South Korea and the United Arab Emirates but Britain would provide a bridgehead into more developed markets. Big questions remain over the terms of potential Korean participation in Moorside – particularly whether the British government would be willing to contribute towards the estimated £10-15bn needed to build the plant, or at least provide credit guarantees. Mixed signals have emerged from the Treasury and Mr Clark’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy about whether the government is willing to drop its longstanding resistance to committing public money to the expensive and risky business of building nuclear reactors. Another focus of discussion with Mr Clark will be whether Kepco would stick with the Westinghouse AP1000 reactors planned for Moorside or substitute its own APR1400 technology. Westinghouse, a subsidiary of Toshiba, last week filed for bankruptcy protection in the US after big cost overruns at nuclear power projects in South Carolina and Georgia. NuGen already has ties to Kepco through its chief executive, Tom Samson, who previously worked on the South Korean nuclear project in Abu Dhabi, which, unlike most new reactors around the world, have proceeded on time and on budget. It is hoped that Korean involvement would help deliver a significantly lower price of electricity from Moorside than from Hinkley Point, the £18bn nuclear plant in Somerset under construction by EDF of France, which has stirred controversy for its high cost. Hinkley Point.
FT 3rd April 2017 read more »
Westinghouse, which has the fuel factory at Springfields at Salwick, won approval for its new AP1000 reactor design which is earmarked for the Moorside scheme near Sellafield. The Moorside scheme has been under a cloud since Toshiba one of the firms in the consortium behind it put its US Westinghouse subsidiary into bankruptcy protection following financial troubles caused by two AP1000 nuclear projects in the USA over-running. But now inspectors from the Environment Agency and the Office for Nuclear Regulation have announced that Westinghouse’s AP1000 design has passed the major milestone of Generic Design Assessment plus two other vital reviews before the scheme can go ahead. Chief executive officer José Emeterio Gutiérrez said: “The successful completion of this rigorous review by the ONR and the EA has been many years in the making, and it represents a major milestone toward bringing a new generation of safe, clean energy to the United Kingdom through the Moorside Project.”
Blackpool Gazette 2nd April 2017 read more »
The Government is under mounting pressure to step in to guarantee the future of the giant Moorside nuclear power plant, amid growing concerns that it could be swept up in the financial crisis engulfing its chief backer. The Sunday Telegraph has learned that construction of Moorside has been thrown further into doubt after a US judge ruled that an emergency loan provided to Westinghouse Electric, the American nuclear reactor developer, cannot be used to support the company’s European operations. In a hearing in a New York bankruptcy court, Judge Michael Wiles refused a request for its various European subsidiaries to tap an £800m financing facility provided by the Wall Street private equity giant Apollo after Westinghouse declared bankruptcy last week.
Telegraph 2nd April 2017 read more »