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£102m Toshiba deal raises hopes for nuclear new-build

HOPES that a nuclear power station will be built at Sellafield, delivering thousands of new jobs, have received a major boost.

The US nuclear company Westinghouse has unveiled firm plans to build three of its AP1000 reactors on land at Moorside, Sellafield, with the first due on stream in 2024.

The project is potentially worth £5billion and would be the biggest ever private-sector investment in West Cumbria.

Westinghouse expects 6,000 jobs to be created during the construction phase plus 1,000 permanent jobs once the reactors are finished, and further employment every time one is refuelled. When all three reactors are operational, they would supply seven per cent of the UK’s electricity.

The announcement follows the decision of Westinghouse’s parent company, Toshiba, to buy into the NuGen consortium that has an option to develop Moorside.

Toshiba has acquired, in principal, the 50 per cent stake of Spanish energy company Iberdrola and 10 per cent of the stake owned by the French energy company GDF Suez, giving it a 60 per cent holding in NuGen. GDF retains the remaining 40 per cent.

The total price is a provisional £102 million, and Toshiba aims to complete the overall transaction in the first half of 2014. The three reactors will have a combined capacity of 3.4GW, and construction is expected to start in 2020.

The decision  is being hailed “great news for West Cumbria”.

Copeland MP Jamie Reed said: “This deal represents a huge step forward for nuclear new build at Moorside.

“Toshiba/Westinghouse is precisely the kind of powerhouse we need to accelerate the new-build project.

“The deal means that a reactor design type has all but been selected and it will be the AP-1000.

“West Cumbria could become the European beach-head for Toshiba/Westinghouse and this means that the success of the Moorside project is of mutual importance to the community and the companies involved.

“Many of us have been working for almost two years to pull this off and now that we have clarity we can have much greater certainty in the Moorside development. This has been a long time coming, but we’re moving in the right direction.”

The move was also welcomed by Copeland Council leader Elaine Woodburn. She said: “This reaffirms the commitment of a number of organisations to deliver a new nuclear power station here in Copeland, at the Moorside site.

“Things did seem to have slowed a little and hopefully this move will accelerate the project once again. Toshiba and Westinghouse are international companies with extensive and proven track records in this field – and Westinghouse’s reactor design knowledge will be invaluable.

“We have worked closely with NuGen for some time now, and look forward to continuing this relationship to make sure that nuclear new build becomes a reality, and provides the economic boost we’re all keen to see.”

The announcement has also received the backing of Britain’s Energy Coast, Chris Davies, a North West MEP and the Liberal Democrat environment spokesman in the European Parliament, and the GMB union.

Danny Roderick, Westinghouse’s president and CEO, said: “This is another example of the strong commitment of Toshiba and Westinghouse to serve the global nuclear energy industry and enable countries and regions of the world to achieve their carbon-reduction goals. We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with the owners of NuGen, as well as nuclear suppliers in Cumbria and throughout the United Kingdom.”

Gerard Mestrallet, chairman and CEO of GDF Suez, added: “The signing of this agreement is an essential step in the pursuit of the development of our nuclear programme in the United Kingdom. It reflects our strong ambition in the nuclear field and confirms our strategic decision to promote a diversified, balanced, and low-carbon energy mix where nuclear power has its place.”

Have your say

Here we go again with anti nuclear, anti sellafield shop workers putting down the nuclear industry and the opportunity to bring short and long term jobs to our struggling community

Posted by Gart on 22 January 2014 at 12:08

Hopefully common sense will prevail and no more nuke power stations will be built. They are subsidised heavily by the tax payer and very expensive, cause pollution and radiation contamination with the worst being plutonium which when ingested is more or less instant cancer. What price nuke power? It is a vile menace and has had its day.

Posted by Jan on 17 January 2014 at 19:57

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