By Karolin Schaps
LONDON Jan 14 Toshiba has agreed to
buy 60 percent of the NuGen UK nuclear joint venture between GDF
Suez and Spain's Iberdrola for 102 million
pounds, boosting Britain's plans to replace its ageing nuclear
Toshiba's Westinghouse unit will provide three of its AP1000
nuclear reactors, with a combined capacity of 3,400 megawatts
(MW), for construction on the NuGen Moorside nuclear site in
northern England, the companies involved said on Tuesday.
The first reactor is due to come online in 2024, they added.
Toshiba's involvement marks the entry of the second
Japanese engineering heavyweight into Britain's drive to build
new nuclear plants after Hitachi bought a nuclear new build
project in 2012.
Britain is one of a few European nations to build new
nuclear plants in the wake of Japan's 2011 Fukushima disaster as
it seeks to replace its existing reactors to help cut carbon
emissions in its electricity sector.
Britain's push for new nuclear plants stands in sharp
contrast with nations such as Germany and Austria which pledged
after the events at Fukushima to completely phase out the use of
"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
Under the preliminary deal announced on Tuesday, Toshiba
will pay 85 million pounds ($140 million) for Spanish
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.
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 north west England, will produce the fuel to be
used in Westinghouse's reactors.
British workers' union GMB welcomed the announcement for
offering benefits to the local community.
"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.
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