UK partnership for AP1000 confirmed

30 June 2014

Toshiba has increased its commitment to building three AP1000 units at Moorside in the UK. It has taken an extra 10% in project company NuGen, while its option to buy the required land has been extended.

Toshiba, Westinghouse and GDF Suez jointly announced the completion of the deal that sees Toshiba add the 10% share of NuGen purchased from GDF Suez to the 50% interest in the company it bought from Iberdrola in late 2013. GDF Suez retains a 40% interest in NuGen. Toshiba president and CEO Hisao Tanaka said that the contract reconfirmed the commitment of the companies to the construction of the three AP1000s at Moorside.

As part of the deal, the NuGen management team is to be reformed under the leadership of former Westinghouse vice president for nuclear power plant business development Sandy Rupprecht who described Moorside as "the most exciting new nuclear build project in Europe."

At the same time, the UK's Nuclear Decommissioning Agency (NDA) also confirmed that an extension to a land option agreement for the Moorside site has been concluded. The agreement, worth around £200 million ($340 million), extends an original 2009 option to purchase the land to the north and west of the historic Sellafield nuclear complex in north-western England which would otherwise have expired in October of this year.

NuGen plans to build by 2024 three AP1000 pressurized water reactors at Moorside with a total capacity of 3.4 GWe. A final investment decision is expected to be taken by the end of 2018, and immediate plans for NuGen's management focus on site investigations, preliminary studies for site layouts, stakeholder engagement and preparations for public consultations due to begin in 2015.

Engineering services for the plants from feasibility studies through construction and operation to decommissioning will be provided by GDF Suez subsidiary Tractebel Engineering, while fuel for the Moorside reactors is to be manufactured at Westinghouse's existing Springfields facility in the UK.

Moorside would be the first site in Europe to host the AP1000, eight of which are currently under construction in the USA and China. Already licensed by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the reactor must complete the final parts of generic design assessment by the UK's regulatory bodies. On 14 June the Office for Nuclear Regulation said it had held "preliminary talks" with Westinghouse to explore what is required to re-start this process.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News