Report below in yesterday’s Telegraph illustrates that no one wants this Nukiller baby in Cumbria. Our Nukiller obsessed government though are in Seoul, South Korea trying to get South Korean backing for Moorside. The South Koreans have been on the streets in their tens of thousands opposing Nukiller developments
Toshiba left holding the baby as NuGen partner backs out of Moorside nuclear project
Credit: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg
The future of the Moorside nuclear plant in Cumbria has been thrown into fresh doubt after one of its backers quit the project, leaving struggling Japanese conglomerate Toshiba as the last developer standing.
Engie, formerly known as GDF Suez, will sell its 40pc stake in the project to majority partner Toshiba for $138.5m (£111.3m), saying the plan to build three nuclear reactors at the Cumbrian site faces “significant challenges” after a US subsidiary of the Japanese firm filed for bankruptcy.
The failure of Westinghouse last week triggered an exit clause in Engie’s contract with the NuGeneration consortium that is building the plant, allowing it an escape route from the troubled Moorside project.
The exit is the latest blow to NuGen, which has suffered several setbacks since it was formed in 2010 by SSE, GDF Suez and Iberdrola. SSE withdrew from the project after a year, selling its 25pc stake to the other two partners, before cash-strapped Spanish utility Iberdrola quit in 2013, selling its 50pc stake to Toshiba. At the same time Toshiba took a 10pc stake from Engie.
The sale hands the full financial burden of constructing the £15bn project to the Japanese conglomerate, which is already facing writedowns of 712.5bn yen (£5bn) due to delays on US nuclear projects undertaken by Westinghouse.
Having stated its intention to exit nuclear projects outside Japan, Toshiba is now in the position of holding sole responsibility for developing Moorside. It said it would continue to hunt for backers interested in Moorside in order to sell off its holding in the project.
The Moorside nuclear plant is planned for Cumbria, near the Sellafield nuclear plant Credit: Owen Humphreys/Press Association
Greg Clarke, the business secretary, travelled to South Korea this week in a bid to save the project by appealing to Korean nuclear giant Kepco to invest.
A Government spokesman confirmed that Mr Clarke’s talks will focus on future collaboration between the UK and South Korea, including on potential civil nuclear projects, and that he is engaging regularly with a range of developers and investors.
The Korean state-backed energy company first considered investing in NuGen in 2013 and talks were said to have been revived last year by Tom Samson, NuGen’s chief executive, who worked closely with Kepco in the United Arab Emirates.
However, doubts remain over whether the company would join NuGen and whether it would be willing to use a Westinghouse-designed reactor, as mandated by the current plan, rather than its own APR1400 model. A change in the reactor design would require a new approval process that could delay the project by four to five years, pushing the start date into the early 2030s.
A delay to Moorside would mean the only new nuclear projects to begin generating power in the 2020s will be Hinkley Point C and two plants built by Horizon. The Hitachi-backed developer is expected to start up the 2.7GW Oldbury nuclear plant by 2020 and its Wylfa nuclear project by 2025.
Horizon said on Tuesday it had applied for a nuclear site licence needed to grant permission for two Advanced-Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) units on Anglesey in Wales.
The company will conclude the final phase of its community consultation this summer and expects approval for the ABWR to come through by the end of 2017, with all necessary permissions by the end of 2018.
NO NO NO NO