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Friday, 03 July 2015

Deal signals next step for new nuclear power station in Cumbria

TOSHIBA and GDF Suez have completed a deal that will boost development of the Moorside new nuclear power project on the West Cumbria coast.

The deal signals the next step in plans to build a nuclear power station in Cumbria. 

The project would bring at least £10bn of investment and create up to 21,000 jobs over the construction period, including peak on-site employment of more than 6,000 people. Once operational, the reactors would employ 1,000 people.

The agreement sees Toshiba acquiring a 60 per cent stake and GDF SUEZ retaining a 40 per cent holding in NuGeneration Ltd (NuGen), the U.K.-based nuclear energy company that plans to build three Westinghouse AP1000 reactors in West Cumbria. Each reactor will take approximately four years to build. When fully operational, the Moorside site is expected to deliver around seven per cent of the U.K.’s future electricity requirements.

A deal has also been concluded with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) on the extension of a land option agreement for the Moorside site.

The Moorside plant is targeted to come online in 2024. When fully operational, it will have a combined capacity of 3.4GW, enough to deliver power to six million homes. The project supports the U.K. Government’s low-carbon and energy security objectives at a time when existing power plants are retiring and low-carbon generation is required to meet national and international commitments.

The Westinghouse AP1000 reactor — a pressurised water reactor — is licensed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Currently, eight AP1000 reactors are under construction globally.

Before the final investment decision which is forecast to be taken by the end of 2018, NuGen will be undertaking a broad range of preparatory works, including regulatory, permitting and commercial activities. The management team’s focus in 2014 will be on site investigations, preliminary studies for site layouts and stakeholder engagement and preparation for stakeholder consultations.

With 40 years of owner and operator expertise in nuclear energy, GDF SUEZ will provide solid and proven skills as a nuclear power plant operator in all the activities that are vital throughout the lifecycle of a nuclear plant. Tractebel Engineering, a subsidiary of GDF SUEZ, will act as the owner’s engineer of NuGen. Its role will be to provide a range of engineering services from feasibility studies through construction, operation, maintenance and decommissioning.

Westinghouse intends to utilise its Springfields facility, a UK-licensed fuel manufacturing facility near Preston to manufacture the fuel for AP1000 reactors built in the UK, thereby securing indigenous fuel supply. The facility currently manufactures fuel for the entire U.K. fleet of advanced gas-cooled reactors, and pressurised water reactor fuel for export.

NuGen will be focusing on site assessments and site lay-out in 2014 and in to next year, when it will undertake its first public consultation on its plans.

New NuGen chief executive, Sandy Rupprecht, said the company would be powering forward with Europe’s largest new build project.

“Moorside is the most exciting new nuclear build project in Europe, without a doubt," he said.

"We will be taking forward our project in West Cumbria, the UK’s nuclear heartland – and we expect the national and regional economies to benefit extensively from the Moorside development.

“We will be working closely with our stakeholders, to keep them informed and included in the process, and we will be working towards building a robust business case for the project.

“We will also be looking for the best people to come and join us, to support our project.”

Jamie Reed, MP for Copeland, said: "We’ve nurtured this project from the very beginning. From helping to produce new national nuclear policy, to ensuring that Moorside was selected as a new nuclear development site, to working in partnership with NuGen for many years. Today’s announcement is extremely exciting.

“Our local economic future is incredibly bright. Look at the projections here: the biggest ever private sector investment in our history, up to 21,000 new jobs and this is alongside the ongoing hospital development, an investment in excess of £100m, the ongoing project for the £35m new school campus in Whitehaven, the £25m new office developments in Whitehaven town centre and other town centre development projects. I don’t believe that there is another area of comparable size in the United Kingdom set to receive the sheer scale of economic investment that we are in West Cumbria – and every penny has been hard won.

“NuGen has rightly called our area Britain’s nuclear heartland, and we are about to commence Europe’s biggest new nuclear project. None of this has happened by accident, but close to a decade of work is beginning to pay off: we are beginning to turn the corner, we are building a new West Cumbria.

“I’ll continue to chaperone this project, but its clear we now have the partners in place with the commitment, determination and ability to deliver our local economic ambitions and make us an area of global importance.

“I’ll continue to say this, and I hope the message is now beginning to be understood, in West Cumbria our best days are ahead of us.”

Have your say

I wish that they would stop saying Sellafield workers and unions support this proposed new build, a few might but not everyone. There is enough chaos on the roads in the morning now trying to get there, let alone with thousands more so logistically it would only bring everything to a grinding halt. There is no logical justification for this project, the power is not required within Cumbria and would be exported south, the huge cost of bringing the national grid into Cumbria to connect Moronside should be enough to stop it, 400 million plus just to cross Morecombe bay! Build it where the electrical infra structure is already local and save millions, the savings could rebuild the local NHS. Then the risk, why increase the existing risk by building another high risk plant next door? You then have the shortage of skilled people, both the nuclear industry and local NHS have got these issues as not everyone wants to live in Cumbria especially young and forward thinking people not yet in sight of retirement. Long term it will not employ the thousands that is being bantered round, and construction will be contractors coming into the area short term and many at Sellafield will jump ship as well leaving them with a bigger shortfall.

Posted by Roy on 2 December 2014 at 10:46

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