The start-up of a nuclear power plant south of Shanghai later this year has a lot riding on it. It’ll be the first to use a new reactor designed by Westinghouse Electric Co., and its success is critical for the embattled company’s future. Development of the same AP1000 model has been disastrous for the firm in the U.S., leading to bankruptcy and doubts over the future of its owner, Japan’s Toshiba Corp. If all goes smoothly at the Sanmen facility, the Chinese could unleash a wave of approvals for new reactors. South Africa, India, Mexico and the Czech Republic are among other countries also considering the design, and are more likely to adopt it once China has taken the first, crucial step. That will boost the allure of Westinghouse should it be sold in the restructuring. “Sanmen AP1000 is a showcase to the worldwide nuclear power industry, and its success will probably trigger a new round of construction,” said Shi Yan, a Shanghai-based utilities analyst at UOB Kay Hian Holdings Ltd. “Everyone wants to build AP1000 reactors, but very few want to be the first building it.” The Sanmen project in China’s Zhejiang province has not been without challenges. It was scheduled to begin in 2013, but was delayed due to design problems, supply-chain bottlenecks and stricter safety measures after the Fukushima disaster. India aims to build six AP1000s, and is currently in negotiations with Westinghouse, according to Satish Kumar Sharma, chairman and managing director of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. Westinghouse is among suppliers Czech Republic is meeting for its Dukovany facility, according to Lenka Kovacovska, deputy minister for energy at the country’s industry and trade ministry. “We will need to wait to see what happens with Westinghouse and Toshiba, but of course the design is very good,” said Alejandro Huerta, deputy director general for nuclear policy at Mexico’s Ministry of Energy, which is considering the AP1000 for three units. “We don’t want to be the first-of-a-kind. We don’t want to have construction delays as we have seen in other projects.”
Bloomberg 26th April 2017 read more »
The owners of one of the first new U.S. nuclear power plants in decades said the half-finished reactors might not be completed without changes to a proposed $800 million (624.3 million pounds) loan to the bankrupt builder, Westinghouse Electric Co LLC. A unit of Toshiba Corp, Westinghouse has asked a U.S. bankruptcy judge in Manhattan to allow it to borrow up to $800 million from affiliates of Apollo Global Management LLC to stay afloat. Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy in March, blaming billions of dollars of cost overruns at two nuclear power plants it is constructing in Georgia and South Carolina. Utilities led by Southern Corp’s Georgia Power said in court papers filed on Wednesday that Westinghouse’s debtor-in-possession, or DIP, loan should not grant liens on the designs, patents and other intellectual property. “The possibility would exist that the DIP lenders would later foreclose on the intellectual property, which could seriously disrupt or even potentially halt construction of the project,” said the utilities behind the Georgia project.
Reuters 27th April 2017 read more »