China’s state-backed nuclear company is hoping to take an equity stake in the troubled £10bn Moorside new nuclear project being developed by debt-hit Toshiba. The Japanese conglomerate is on the hunt for a project partner to safeguard Europe’s largest planned new nuclear plant after France’s Engie abandoned its support of the venture in the wake of Toshiba’s spiralling financial woes. China General Nuclear (CGN) confirmed that it is in the running to shore up the 3.8GW project in exchange for an equity share, in a move which would also deepen its stake in the UK’s nuclear ambitions. CGN joins South Korea’s Kepco which voiced an interest in the project earlier this summer. The South Korean state-backed utility has harboured an interest in Moorside since 2013, but said it would want to use its own nuclear design rather than one made by Toshiba’s Westinghouse nuclear business. The deal would hand CGN access to a fourth nuclear project in the UK. It has already teamed up with EDF Energy to finance a third of the Hinkley Point C project and a fifth of its Sizewell B nuclear plans. In the future CGN also plans to lead the plans to build the Bradwell C nuclear plant in Essex with a 66pc stake in the venture. At Moorside CGN is also likely to want to use its own reactor design, in order to prove its mettle to other prospective new markets. However, it will take at least four years before CGN’s reactor design could be approved by the nuclear authority for use in the UK. A lengthy approval process would also be required of a Kepco reactor design which could derail the 2025 start date by at least two years in a further blow to the UK’s new nuclear ambitions.
Telegraph 19th Sept 2017 read more »
A Beijing-controlled company is in the running to buy into a proposed £15bn nuclear power station in north-west England in what could be a critical test of UK government attitudes towards Chinese infrastructure investment. China General Nuclear confirmed on Tuesday that it would bid for an equity stake in the NuGen site at Moorside in Cumbria, next to the old Sellafield plant. “We are willing to utilise our more than 30 years’ experience in nuclear design, construction and operation to support the development of Britain’s nuclear industry,” said a CGN spokesperson. Kepco, a South Korean company, is already a candidate to take the project off the hands of the current owner, NuGen Toshiba, which has run into major financial difficulties. The news came as the UK government confirmed it was drawing up plans for tougher screening of foreign investments. Ahead of the general election in June, the Conservative party promised to ensure foreign ownership of companies controlling “important infrastructure” would not undermine national security. On the same day that CGN confirmed its bid for Moorside, business secretary Greg Clark said he would publish more detailed proposals on foreign takeovers in the autumn. Nick Timothy, former co-chief of staff to the prime minister, had warned against allowing China to invest in the UK’s nuclear programme, giving Beijing the capacity to “shut down Britain’s energy production at will”. Although Mrs May subsequently approved Hinkley, some in Whitehall remain worried about Chinese investment. “Why on earth would the Foreign Office be happy to let them take over NuGen?” said one industry figure on Tuesday.
FT 19th Sept 2017 read more »
FT 19th Sept 2017 read more »