Plans for a new generation of nuclear power plants in Britain have suffered a new setback after Toshiba was forced to take full control of the Moorside venture in Cumbria. Toshiba has been required to buy out the stake in the project that it did not already own by Engie, the French energy company. Moorside, just north of Sellafield, is already far behind its original schedule. A planning application for the 3.8-gigawatt, three-reactor power station is targeted for this year, having originally been scheduled for 2014. Engie, the former GDF, has exercised an option to sell its 40 per cent stake in the NuGen venture at Moorside to Toshiba, the majority partner. The option was triggered by the collapse of Westinghouse, Toshiba’s nuclear power plant business. Westinghouse filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week, an insolvency procedure similar to going into administration in Britain. Westinghouse’s bankruptcy protection counts as a “default event” under its contract with Engie.
Times 5th April 2017 read more »
Plans for a proposed new nuclear power station in the north-west of England were thrown into further doubt on Tuesday after Engie, the French utility company, said it was planning to sell its entire holding in a joint venture that is developing the plant. The French utility has exercised its right under an agreement drawn up between the two companies over NuGen that allows it to sell all of its shares to Toshiba in the “event of a default”. Toshiba’s decision to place its nuclear unit – Westinghouse – into bankruptcy protection last week qualifies as such an event, Toshiba said in a statement on Tuesday. Westinghouse’s AP1000 reactor design is intended to be used for the Moorside plant. Toshiba said it would pay around 15.3bn yen ($138.7m) for Engie’s stake in Nugen. Under its agreement with the French utility, it is required to pay at least the amount that Engie invested to acquire its stake.
FT 4th April 2017 read more »
Toshiba has been looking to sell its own majority stake in NuGen. Despite being forced to buy Engie’s stake, Toshiba reiterated on Tuesday that it will “continue to look for investors interested in investing in NuGen and seek to sell off its holding in the company”. Engie’s decision to abandon the project will increase pressure on talks involving Greg Clark, the UK business secretary, in Korea this week. Mr Clark is meeting government officials and nuclear industry executives to discuss the potential involvement of KEPCO, the South Korean state-controlled utility, in Moorside. KEPCO had been viewed as the most likely buyer for Toshiba’s majority stake in NuGen. However, one senior industry figure suggested KEPCO would likely not want to commit to NuGen until it could be sure about the causes of problems with two new nuclear projects in the US, involving AP1000 reactor designs, which brought Westinghouse to its knees. “KEPCO will want to know is it an AP1000 issue or a classic big project issue of not having done your homework before you start digging,” the industry figure said.
FT 4th April 2017 read more »
The exit is the latest blow to NuGen, which has suffered several setbacks since it was formed in 2010 by SSE, GDF Suez and Iberdrola. SSE withdrew from the project after a year, selling its 25pc stake to the other two partners, before cash-strapped Spanish utility Iberdrola quit in 2013, selling its 50pc stake to Toshiba. At the same time Toshiba took a 10pc stake from Engie. The sale hands the full financial burden of constructing the £15bn project to the Japanese conglomerate, which is already facing writedowns of 712.5bn yen (£5bn) due to delays on US nuclear projects undertaken by Westinghouse. Having stated its intention to exit nuclear projects outside Japan, Toshiba is now in the position of holding sole responsibility for developing Moorside. It said it would continue to hunt for backers interested in Moorside in order to sell off its holding in the project. Doubts remain over whether KEPCO would join NuGen and whether it would be willing to use a Westinghouse-designed reactor, as mandated by the current plan, rather than its own APR1400 model. A change in the reactor design would require a new approval process that could delay the project by four to five years, pushing the start date into the early 2030s.
Telegraph 4th April 2017 read more »
Guardian 4th April 2017 read more »
Chris Jukes, of the GMB union, said he was ‘hugely concerned’, adding: ‘We need urgent clarity from the Government, clarity from NuGen and some firm announcements about the plant’s future. ‘In post-Brexit Britain we have the perfect opportunity to provide our own energy supply. ‘But we have one French company exiting the project and one in the Far East having financial problems. It makes you wonder if this project is going to go ahead. It has to. There’s too much at stake.’ The plant will have three reactors and produce 3.8 gigawatts of power, enough to supply six million homes for 60 years. It is expected to provide a £2.8 billion boost to the local economy, and bring 15,000 jobs. Toshiba had already admitted the supply of reactors for the plant was uncertain after its US nuclear division filed for bankruptcy.
Daily Mail 4th April 2017 read more »
Toshiba has been forced to buy out French utility Engie from a project to build three nuclear reactors in Moorside, adding to strains on the Japanese company’s finances and to uncertainty over the project. Engie said on Tuesday it was exercising its right to sell its 40 percent stake in the NuGen venture to Toshiba following the bankruptcy of the Japanese firm’s Westinghouse unit. Toshiba will pay 15.3 billion yen ($138.5 million) for the stake. The British government has been working to attract new investors to NuGen, and some analysts said Engie’s departure might make it easier for Toshiba to sell NuGen as a whole. Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) is a potential investor after its chief executive said last month it was in talks to buy a stake in NuGen. Britain’s energy minister is currently in South Korea for talks on future collaboration between the two countries, including nuclear projects, a government spokeswoman said. The filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection by Toshiba’s U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse Electric Co last month was as “an event of default” that allowed Engie to exercise its option to sell its stake to Toshiba, the Japanese firm said.
Reuters 4th April 2017 read more »
BBC 4th April 2017 read more »
[Machine Translation] Engie will force Japan’s Toshiba to buy back its 40% stake in NuGen, their plan to build a nuclear power plant in north-western England. While Engie’s strategy in the new nuclear sector has been the subject of many questions for months, a first answer was given on Tuesday: the energy company will sell its 40% in the British project NuGen to its Japanese partner Toshiba. The French group used a clause in NuGen’s shareholders’ agreement, giving it the right to ask Toshiba to redeem its shares in certain cases of default. There is now the question of Engie’s participation in the project to build four reactors in Turkey, in Sinop on the Black Sea, won in May 2013 alongside Areva and Mitsubishi (MHI), and Itochu. “The studies are continuing and we are participating in it,” says a spokesman, recalling however that this project at 17 billion euros is still in the preliminary stage and that the project company has not yet been created. At the signing of the contract, the French energy company had evoked a 20% stake. But since then, Engie has embarked on a strategy of profound transformation, going through a refocusing on renewable energies and services, where the place of the new nuclear is far from obvious. The group, which operates seven reactors in Belgium, is also considering a search for partners on its local subsidiary Electrabel, or even its listing.
Les Echos 4th April 2017 read more »
[Machine Translation] Engie announced on Tuesday that it was withdrawing from the nuclear NuGen nuclear project operated jointly with the Japanese Toshiba. NuGen was to build three reactors in the north-west of England. In the coming weeks, the Japanese multinational will have to buy back the participation of the former GDF Suez for 15.3 billion yen, or 127 million euros. This withdrawal is a good deal for the company of Isabelle Kocher. In recent years, the group had put the soft pedal on the atom. For two main reasons. First, the new post-Fukushima nuclear power is expensive (more than 100 euros per megawatt hour for the Hinkley Point EPR, operated by EDF). Secondly, Engie’s priority today is to succeed in the vast work it has undertaken, that of energy transition. This revolution can be summed up in three words which begin with the letter D: digitization, decentralization, decarbonation. Of course, nuclear energy is a decarbonised energy. But Engie has chosen to concentrate on the only renewables whose costs are constantly decreasing. In many countries, wind and photovoltaics are now operating without subsidies.
Challenges 4th April 2017 read more »
As Engie becomes the seventh international energy utility to give up on UK new nuclear build, NFLA say now is the time to move towards a decentralised, renewable energy alternative policy The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) notes with little surprise today’s decision by the French energy utility Engie to pull out of the proposed Sellafield Moorside new nuclear development. This follows Toshiba’s nuclear subsidiary Westinghouse going into bankruptcy protection in the United States and its decision that it will not fund new nuclear reactors at the Moorside site. Engie follows on from the previous decisions over the past decade of E-on (Wylfa), RWE Npower (Wylfa), Iberdrola (Moorside), SSE (Moorside), Centrica (Hinkley Point) and seemingly Toshiba as well (Moorside) who have pulled out of developing new nuclear reactors in the UK.
NFLA 4th April 2017 read more »
As Britain steps up the hunt for a new partner for a stalled nuclear power project, South Korea’s KEPCO remains the most likely suitor, but two people with direct knowledge of the matter said the giant utility won’t be rushed to the altar. With British business minister Greg Clark in Seoul for talks, the status of KEPCO – Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) – as likely buyer has been enhanced this week by troubled Japanese conglomerate Toshiba Corp having to take on full ownership of the NuGen project after France’s Engie backed. One of few utilities to retain global nuclear ambitions, KEPCO said last month that it was in talks over a potential stake purchase in NuGen. But while both Britain and cash-strapped Toshiba seek to accelerate progress towards a deal, state-owned KEPCO will not be able to move faster, the people with direct knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday. One key issue for KEPCO will be the technology used for the Moorside project – Toshiba’s AP1000 reactor, as planned, or its own APR1400. While Toshiba previously received the green light from Britain for the Westinghouse design, KEPCO could make approval for its own technology that a condition.
Reuters 5th April 2017 read more »
TROUBLED Japanese giant Toshiba is set to take over the company planning to bring nuclear new build to Cumbria. The firm has announced that it will buy French firm ENGIE’s 40 per cent stake in NuGen, which has plans for a power plant at Moorside, near Sellafield. Added to the 60 per cent of NuGen already owned by Toshiba, this will make it the company’s sole owner. It has also repeated its statement that it is looking for new investors for the project.
Carlisle News & Star 4th April 2017 read more »