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New Nuclear in UK: Moorside & Wylfa 

No2NuClear No 96 June 2017 The future of Moorside has been thrown into doubt by the financial troubles of Japanese giant Toshiba which owns the company developing the scheme – Nugen. Nugen is undertaking a strategic review of its options following what it calls “vendor challenges”, (1) although the company says it is “110 per cent certain” it will be built. (2)
According to The Times Toshiba is seeking a buyer for NuGen, but bidders are scarce and the sale is fraught with complexity. The source of Toshiba’s malaise is the decision — a decade ago — to transform itself into a global force in nuclear energy. The acquisition of Westinghouse from state-owned British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) was done amid the feverish climate of the precredit crisis boom.
 Westinghouse has two contracts to install AP1000 reactors at existing nuclear power stations in Georgia and South Carolina, signed in 2008 — America’s first nuclear reactors in a generation. The plants are years late and an estimated $10bn (£7.7bn) over budget, with no certainty about completion. After Fukushima, Toshiba was forced to enhance safety procedures at the two plants, at vast expense. The Japanese giant has, in effect, been left on the hook for unlimited costs. It has booked $6.3bn of write-downs on the Westinghouse subsidiary — and has warned that there is now doubt over Toshiba’s status as a going concern.
Korean nuclear giant Kepco is the most likely suitor for NuGen, but wants to use its own reactors rather than Westinghouse’s AP1000 design. A sale of the American company would be highly contentious, given its strategic importance. If a buyer cannot be found, or bankruptcy does not sever the liabilities on the American projects, all the uncapped costs could stay with the Japanese company. “Toshiba could end up as just a holding company for Westinghouse,” said one industry source. That would be the nightmare scenario for its investors — and a hammer blow to Britain’s nuclear strategy. (3)
The Chinese state-owned State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC) is also reported to be considering investing in NuGen. Eight senior officials from SNPTC are said to have met executives from NuGen and Britain’s atomic power trade body, the Nuclear Industry Association in May. Sources said SNPTC could seek to power NuGen with its own reactor — a derivative of Westinghouse’s AP1000 model, which is planned for the site. (4)
 The National Grid has also hit the pause button on Moorside’s 102-mile power line connection. Plans for the “biggest new power line since electricity network was built” have been shelved. (5)
The GMB union has demanded that the government “stop faffing” and step in to save Moorside. GMB slammed the government for “continued dithering” following the latest in a series of setbacks. “How many kicks in the teeth for the desperately needed new nuclear plant at Moorside will it take to bring politicians of all colours to their senses?” asked GMB national secretary Justin Bowden. “Britain must have the reliable zero carbon nuclear power that Moorside will bring as part of the balanced energy mix, alongside renewables and gas.” (6)
 NuGen held a Stage 2 public consultation which finished at the end of July 2016, but now 10 months later, there has been no feedback report despite the fact that it was promised for No2NuclearPower nuClear news No.96, June 2017 24
 ‘Autumn 2016’. Nor has NuGen indicated that it will hold the further consultation called for by CORE, local authorities and others to make up for the lack of detailed information provided in the Stage 2 consultation documents. (7)
Meanwhile, Horizon Nuclear Power has published new plans for its nuclear power station at Wylfa Newydd, which it states should cut the labour force needed to build the 2.7GW plant. The company, which is owned by Hitachi, has proposed a more compact design in its latest blueprint for the site on the Isle of Anglesey, off the north Wales coast. (8)It has launched a third formal consultation on the latest proposals. (9) The power station’s footprint will be reduced by sharing more buildings between the twin reactors, including the facilities for transmitting the electricity generated at the site to the Grid. Off-site support buildings, including a garage and back-up control facilities, will be housed in a single location. Horizon is also investigating making greater use of off-site construction.

June 7, 2017 - Posted by | business and costs, UK

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