Kepco beats CGN to bag troubled UK nuclear project

South Korean state-owned utility Korea Electric Power Corp (Kepco) has been chosen as the preferred bidder for a company building a nuclearà‚ power plant in the UK.

Japan’s Toshiba, which is building the 3.8 GW Moorside nuclear plant through its subsidiary NuGen, reportedly considered China General Nuclear (CGN) before settling on Kepco as top choice in its bid to offload NuGen.

In a statement, Kepco said it “will talk over the contract terms over the next few months and will finalize the deal when the negotiations are complete and the British government approves the project”.

The à‚£15bn ($20bn) Moorside project is currently planned to include three AP1000 reactors and is scheduled to come online by 2024. But according to reports, Kepco is likely to substitute its own APR1400 reactors, pushing the project timetable back as the firm would need to go through the lengthy process of securing regulatory approval.

This week’s move is widely viewed as a lifeline for the troubled project, which was initiated in 2014 but has suffered from Toshiba’s financial woes leading to the bankruptcy of its US subsidiary Westinghouse in March, and from Engie’s subsequent withdrawal from the project in April, which forced Toshiba to purchase its 40 per cent share for $138.5m. à‚ 

CGN, which is active in the UK nuclear sector, holds a à‚£6bn share in EDF’s Hinkley Point C project and this month unveiled its HPR1000 reactor design for the planned 2.3 GW Bradwell B plant, another collaboration with EDF.à‚ 

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