A new nuclear power plant effort currently being pursued in the United Kingdom is becoming the focus of debate in South Korea. The controversy began with news on July 31 that the Japanese company Toshiba cancelled the Korea Electric Power Company’s (KEPCO) priority negotiation partner status in its bid to sell off NuGen, the company responsible for developing the proposed Moorside nuclear power station in northwest England. Toshiba’s decision has been viewed by most as a strategic move to draw a faster decision from the South Korean side as it scrambles to resolve its management woes by selling off its NuGen stake. But the issue has created controversy as the South Korean nuclear power industry and some media have portrayed it as a case of the Moon Jae-in administration’s “post-nuclear power policy” robbing KEPCO of a hard-won overseas nuclear power plant project opportunity. Overshadowed in the debate are concerns about losing an opportunity to closely examine the profitability and risks of overseas nuclear power projects. Japanese and French nuclear power companies that have become involved in the UK’s six new nuclear power construction projects have either already declared their retreat or become bogged down in years of negotiations over the methods and levels of profit guarantees. Based on the various developments observed to date in the UK’s pursuit of its new nuclear power project, South Korean [critics] appear to be overlooking a global trend toward viewing nuclear power as a likely money loser of a venture rather than a profitable one.
Hankyoreh 6th Aug 2018 read more »