A South Korean energy giant that was embroiled in a forgery scandal has been tapped up to invest in a new nuclear power station planned for the Cumbrian coast, writes John Collingridge. Tom Samson, chief executive of the plant’s developer, NuGen, is understood to have approached potential investors including Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) in recent weeks as its Franco-Japanese backers struggle for funds. NuGen’s owners, Engie (formerly GDF Suez) and Toshiba, aim to build a 3.8 gigawatt plant, capable of powering 6m homes, at Moorside in Sellafield. Along with Hinkley Point C in Somerset and Wylfa in Anglesey, it is one of three projects whose goal is to unblock Britain’s nuclear power logjam. But like the long-delayed Hinkley Point, finding investors prepared to fund NuGen’s £10bn-plus project is proving a challenge. The Sunday Times revealed in March that Whitehall has asked for Japanese taxpayer funds to help get Wylfa and Moorside off the ground. Rothschild, which is advising Wylfa’s Japanese backer, Hitachi, is understood to have written to the UK government to suggest it also take a stake in the Wylfa project. Stephen Lovegrove, who until March was permanent secretary at the Department of Energy & Climate Change, flew to Tokyo last month for funding talks with Japanese ministers and executives. On his way back he stopped off in Seoul for similar discussions. Kepco held talks about joining the NuGen consortium in 2013, according to reports, but no deal materialised. Japanese trading house Itochu, which owns car repair chain Kwik-Fit, is also understood to have been approached by NuGen about injecting funds.
Times 1st May 2016 read more »