UK nuclear power station project 'in talks' for cash injection

By Dan Macadam
Business reporter

image copyrightNuGen
image captionThe Moorside nuclear plant on the Cumbrian coast is due to open in the mid-2020s

The developers behind Europe's biggest new nuclear power station are in talks with potential overseas investors for the £10bn project in Cumbria.

Joint venture group Nugen said it was talking to banks and foreign nuclear firms about the plant, which aims to supply power for six million homes.

"There is a universe of options open to us," Nugen said.

A final investment decision on the site, to be built near the Sellafield nuclear complex, is due in 2018.

"We are talking to potential investors familiar with the nuclear industry, including banks, credit-export agencies and nuclear companies in countries interested in nuclear new build projects," a Nugen spokesperson told the BBC.

Among those interested in joining the project in Moorside is the state-controlled Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco), according to the Financial Times.

The South Korean firm, which was caught up in a forgery scandal three years ago, is looking at taking a stake in Nugen and helping with construction, according to the newspaper.

A deal with existing owners, Toshiba of Japan and Engie of France, would boost Moorside at a time when rival nuclear plans at Hinkley Point have been thrown into question.

image copyrightEDF Energy
image captionHinkley Point is waiting for approval from the prime minister

Prime Minister Theresa May has said she will determine this month whether to go ahead with Hinkley Point after kicking back a decision.

Moorside is designed to provide up to 3.8 gigawatts of power - compared to Hinkley's 3.2 gigawatts - but is still years behind the French energy firm EDF in securing financing and regulatory approval.

It aims to employ up to 21,000 workers over the lifetime of the project and provide enough power for 7% of the UK's electricity requirements when the reactors are switched on in the mid 2020s.

The three reactors would be provided by Westinghouse, the US subsidiary of Toshiba which supplies about half of the world's operating nuclear plants.

Nugen hopes to tap into the existing infrastructure at nearby Sellafield, which employs more than 10,000 staff and claims to have the largest concentration of nuclear expertise in Europe.

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