Toshiba’s NuGen nuclear project in Britain expects to secure a new investor by early next year according to NuGen’s chief executive officer Tom Samson, speaking to Reuters.
The future of NuGen, in Moorside, northwest England, was thrown into doubt after developer Toshiba’s nuclear arm Westinghouse went bankrupt this year. Toshiba’s NuGen joint venture partner Engie subsequently pulled out of the project, leaving the Japanese firm searching for new investors.
“There are multiple credible bidders and we expect to find a new buyer, and a clear way forward by early next year,” said Tom Samson. South Korea’s Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) and China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) have both said they are interested in bidding for the project.
It was initially hoped electricity generation would begin by 2025 but there will necessarily be a shift in the start date from 2025 to later in the 2020s. The plant could be operating before 2030 said Samson. The timing will largely depend on which of the bidders is successful, as KEPCO and CGN are both likely to want to use their own nuclear reactor technology.
KEPCO’s reactor design has yet to start the UK’s Generic Design Assessment regulatory process, while CGN began the approval process earlier this year as the company also plans to build a new nuclear plant in Bradwell, Essex. Westinghouse was initially expected to provide the reactor technology, and this already has GDA approval.
NuGen has called on the UK government for project support. “We are exploring options for the government to participate in the project but it is just a dialogue at the moment and no policy decisions have been made,” said Samson.