LONDON Jan 14 Japan's Toshiba has
signed a preliminary agreement to purchase 60 percent of the
NuGen UK nuclear joint venture between GDF Suez and
Iberdrola for 102 million pounds, Toshiba's
Westinghouse nuclear unit said on Tuesday.
Westinghouse will build three of its AP1000 nuclear reactors
at the NuGen Moorside nuclear site in northern England, with an
installed capacity of 3,400 megawatts (MW). The first reactor is
due to come online in 2024, the company said.
Toshiba will pay 85 million pounds ($140 million) for
Iberdrola's 50 percent stake in the joint venture and 17 million
pounds for 10 percent of GDF Suez' stake. The French company
will retain a 40 percent share of the group.
"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," said Jeffrey Benjamin, Westinghouse Senior
Vice President of nuclear power plants.
Britain is one of the main countries in Europe pursuing the
construction of new nuclear plants in the wake of Japan's 2011
It plans to replace its ageing nuclear plants by the middle
of the next decade as part of a bid to lower carbon emissions in
its electricity sector.
Toshiba is the second Japanese company to enter the UK's
nuclear new build race, after rival Hitachi bought the
Horizon nuclear project in western Britain, from Germany's E.ON
and RWE in 2012. Hitachi plans to build two to five new nuclear
reactors over two sites.
Westinghouse's AP1000 reactors, some of which are under
construction in China, require regulator approval before they
can be built in Britain.
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 Areva form a third
group planning to build new nuclear plants in Britain and their
Hinkley Point C project in southern England is expected to be
the first new nuclear station to start operating in 2023.
The British government announced in October the preliminary
terms of a deal to guarantee operator EDF a minimum price for
electricity to be produced from its Hinkley Point C project.
Similar deals are due to be negotiated for the Horizon and