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Toshiba announces UK nuclear deal

15 January 2014

Toshiba Corp of Japan has agreed to buy 60% of the NuGen UK nuclear joint venture between GDF Suez of France and Spain's Iberdrola for £102m. The deal involves the construction by Toshiba's Westinghouse subsidiary of three AP1000 nuclear reactors with a combined capacity of 3.4 gigawatts (GW) at the Moorside site in West Cumbria, next to the Sellafield nuclear complex.

The reactor at the Sizewell B nuclear plant was also supplied by Westinghouse
The reactor at the Sizewell B nuclear plant was also supplied by Westinghouse

The first reactor is due to come online in 2024, Toshiba said in a Tokyo press conference.
Toshiba is the second large Japanese engineering group to become involved in the UK nuclear programme. In 2012, Hitachi bought into the Horizon project to build new nuclear power stations in Gloucestershire and Anglesey.

Under the preliminary deal announced on January 14, the Japanese group will buy Iberdrola's entire 50% stake for £85m and a further 10% from GDF Suez for £17m. The French utility will retain a 40% stake in NuGen and will run the site, which is expected to provide 7% of the UK's electricity needs.

Westinghouse said the reactor construction programme will create thousands of jobs over the next decade and a large proportion of supply chain contracts will go to UK companies.
Westinghouse Springfields, a nuclear fuel manufacturing company based in Preston, Lancashire, will produce the fuel to be used in Westinghouse's reactors.

Jeffrey Benjamin, senior vice-president of nuclear power plants at Westinghouse, said, “This project supports the UK government’s policy for new nuclear development – the timetable to operation, financial robustness, proven technology and the project’s overall benefit to the UK economy.

"The global expertise and commitment of Toshiba, Westinghouse’s world-leading technology vendor status and GDF Suez’s pioneering expertise as a European nuclear operator are a powerful combination. We know that this plant design is the right choice for the future, the right choice for Cumbria and the UK."

"The announcement by NuGen and Toshiba and Westinghouse shows that the UK is an attractive destination for investors in new nuclear," UK Energy Minister Michael Fallon said in a statement.

AP1000 reactors are already being built in China, but will require UK regulatory approval before construction can commence at Moorside. The company expects to obtain Generic Design Assessment (GDA) approval in mid-2016, Westinghouse's AP1000 Programme Director, Simon Marshall, said.

France's EDF and minority Chinese partners are the most advanced nuclear new build project in the UK, with site preparation works concluded and GDA approval secured for the planned Hinkley Point C plant in Somerset.

The UK government announced in October the preliminary terms of a deal to guarantee EDF a minimum price for electricity to be produced from its Hinkley Point C, and similar deals are due to be negotiated for the Horizon and NuGen projects.

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