Westinghouse doubts its Chinese partner will join UK NuGen nuclear project

LONDON Fri Jan 17, 2014 11:52am EST

LONDON Jan 17 (Reuters) - Toshiba's Westinghouse unit doubts that its partner in building nuclear power stations in China will join its NuGen project to construct a new plant in Britain, its chief executive said on Friday.

The Japanese-owned company plans 3.4 gigawatts (GW) of nuclear capacity at the site in Cumbria in northern England, with the first reactor to begin producing in 2024.

Westinghouse is working on a series of nuclear reactors in China with the country's State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC) as its local partner.

While SNPTC has said it wanted to enter Britain's nuclear new build programme with the Toshiba subsidiary, Westinghouse chief executive Danny Roderick was unsure the Chinese company would take part in NuGen in particular.

"I don't know whether they will come in on this one. There are other opportunities in the UK," Roderick told journalists at a briefing in London.

Japan's Toshiba announced on Tuesday it was taking a majority stake in the NuGen project, buying out a 50 percent stake held by Spain's Iberdrola and a 10 percent share of GDF Suez' ownership. The French firm maintains a 40 percent stake.

Roderick said SNPTC was still interested in a UK partnership with Westinghouse and that talks continued. He did not give any details on which projects might be involved.

The government has shortlisted eight sites as suitable for new nuclear plants and developers have so far proposed projects for five of these sites. Westinghouse is only involved in one of them through NuGen.

Other Chinese companies have shown interest in Britain's programme to build new nuclear power plants to replace ageing reactors and lower its carbon emissions.

France's EDF is one of the other companies planning to build new nuclear plants in Britain with Chinese partners.

China General Nuclear Corporation (CGN) and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) are expected to take a 30-40 percent stake in EDF's Hinkley Point C project.

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