Toshiba stake in UK new-build

23 December 2013

Iberdrola has agreed to sell its 50% stake in the UK's NuGeneration (NuGen) consortium to Toshiba for £85 million ($139 million). NuGen is the would-be developer of the proposed Moorside nuclear power plant.

AP1000 cutaway
AP1000: reactor of choice for Moorside?
(Image: Westinghouse)

Spanish company Iberdrola has notified Spain's National Securities Market Commission (Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores, CNMV) of its 21 December agreement to transfer its shareholding in Belgian company NNB Development Company SA, which is itself the owner of the entire capital of NuGen, to Toshiba Corporation of Japan.

The move is described as part of Iberdrola's strategy of "divesting from non-strategic businesses". The transaction is subject to obtaining the relevant authorisations and consents, the extension of an option to purchase land for the project, and the release of project-related guarantees granted by Iberdrola.

NuGen was originally owned 37.5% each by Iberdrola and GDF Suez of Belgium, and 25% by Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE), with Iberbrolda and GDF Suez becoming 50:50 owners after SSE decided to withdraw from the project in 2011. The consortium has an purchased an option on the 190 hectare site to the north of the Sellafield complex from the UK's Nuclear Decommissioning Agency in 2009. The plot of land and the plant project are called Moorside.

Moorside is one of five proposed sites for nuclear new build in the UK, alongside EDF's Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C and Horizon's Wylfa Newydd and Oldbury B sites. If built, Moorside is likely to comprise up to three Westinghouse-designed AP1000 pressurized water reactors. Toshiba is majority owner of the US-based reactor vendor.

Eight AP1000s are under construction in China and the USA, and the reactor is in the final stages of generic design assessment (GDA) by UK regulators. The GDA forms part of the approval process for new reactor projects in the UK, allowing regulators to assess the safety, security and environmental implications of new reactor designs separately from applications to build them at specific sites. To complete the process the AP1000 needs a customer and a specific site for certain engineering details.

The EPR has already completed the GDA process, receiving a Design Acceptance Confirmation and Statement of Design Acceptability in December 2012, while a GDA was started for Hitachi-GE's ABWR in April 2013. EDF plans to build two Areva-designed EPR pressurized water reactors each at Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C, while Horizon's proposals feature Hitachi-GE Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWRs).

The involvement of Toshiba in NuGen would mean that all UK nuclear new build projects feature part or full ownership by a reactor vendor. Areva will take a 10% stake in Hinkley Point C, while Hitachi owns Horizon.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News