Toshiba Corporation and GDF SUEZ have completed a deal that will boost development of the Moorside new nuclear power project on the West Cumbria coast in northwest England – the largest, single proposed nuclear power plant construction project in Europe.
The agreement sees Toshiba acquiring a 60-percent stake and GDF SUEZ retaining a 40-percent holding in NuGeneration Ltd (NuGen), the U.K.-based nuclear energy company that plans to build three Westinghouse AP1000 reactors in West Cumbria. Each reactor will take approximately four years to build. When fully operational, the Moorside site is expected to deliver around seven percent of the U.K.’s future electricity requirements.
A deal has also been concluded with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) on the extension of a land option agreement for the Moorside site.
The Moorside plant is targeted to come online in 2024. When fully operational, it will have a combined capacity of 3.4GW, enough to deliver power to six million homes. The project supports the U.K. Government’s low–carbon and energy security objectives at a time when existing power plants are retiring and low?carbon generation is required to meet national and international commitments. The Westinghouse AP1000 reactor – a pressurised water reactor – is licensed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Currently, eight AP1000 reactors are under construction globally.
Before the final investment decision which is forecast to be taken by the end of 2018, NuGen will be undertaking a broad range of preparatory works, including regulatory, permitting and commercial activities. The management team’s focus in 2014 will be on site investigations, preliminary studies for site layouts and stakeholder engagement and preparation for stakeholder consultations.
With 40 years of owner and operator expertise in nuclear energy, GDF SUEZ will provide solid and proven skills as a nuclear power plant operator in all the activities that are vital throughout the lifecycle of a nuclear plant. Tractebel Engineering, a subsidiary of GDF SUEZ, will act as the owner’s engineer of NuGen. Its role will be to provide a range of engineering services from feasibility studies through construction, operation, maintenance and decommissioning.
Westinghouse intends to utilise its Springfields facility, a UK-licensed fuel manufacturing facility near Preston to manufacture the fuel for AP1000 reactors built in the UK, thereby securing indigenous fuel supply. The facility currently manufactures fuel for the entire U.K. fleet of advanced gas-cooled reactors, and pressurised water reactor fuel for export.
The global expertise and commitment of Toshiba, GDF SUEZ’s pioneering expertise as a European nuclear operator, and Westinghouse’s world-leading technology are a powerful combination that will make a significant contribution to energy security and long-term employment in the UK.
Commenting on the deal finalisation, Mr. Hisao Tanaka, President and CEO, Toshiba Corporation, said: “We welcome the closing of the contract, which reconfirms Toshiba’s, GDF SUEZ’ and Westinghouse’s commitment to build three AP1000 reactors at Moorside. We are confident this project will support the U.K. in meeting the challenges of securing a stable, affordable future energy supply and cutting CO2 emissions.”
GDF SUEZ Chairman and CEO, Gérard Mestrallet, stated: “The industrial partnership with Toshiba and Westinghouse and the pursuit of the NuGen project reflects GDF SUEZ’ nuclear strategy and ambitions. GDF SUEZ has a solid track record in developing and managing substantial energy projects around the world, in-depth knowledge of diverse market models and broad experience of all types of power generation, including nuclear energy. We wish to mention and recognize the U.K.’s strong strategic vision and political consensus which have enabled the framework designed to ensure a secure, low-carbon electricity generation future – with nuclear energy as part of it, while remaining attractive to investors.”
Westinghouse President and CEO Danny Roderick recognised the momentous occasion by saying: “Westinghouse is delighted that Europe’s largest AP1000 nuclear plant project to date will be constructed in the U.K., which already is home to one of our largest global operations. The local economy will reap many benefits as a result of this project, including calling upon the local supply chain, and creating thousands of skilled jobs. We commend the U.K. on its decision to move forward with safe, clean and affordable nuclear energy that will benefit the region for decades to come.”