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China considers rescuing problematic UK Moorside nuclear station project

China mulls Moorside nuclear rescue deal to deepen roots in UK plants http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/09/19/china-mulls-moorside-nuclear-rescue-deal-deepen-roots-uk-plants/  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. “We are willing to utilise our experience in nuclear design, construction and operation for more than 30 years to support the development of Britain’s nuclear industry,” CGN confirmed in a statement to Reuters.

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.

Westinghouse plunged into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US earlier this year after amassing losses of $9bn (£6.6bn) for Toshiba due to a string of struggling US projects.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.

EDF admitted earlier this year that the start-up date for Hinkley Point C is likely to be two years later than first thought at 2027 and pile a further €1bn (£870m) to €3bn euros on to the construction costs of the £18bn project.

The delays to new nuclear projects raises questions over the UK’s energy supplies in the middle of the next decade. More than two thirds of the country’s power generation capacity will have retired between 2010 and 2030.

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September 22, 2017 - Posted by | China, marketing, UK

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