A top executive at Korea Electric Power Corp (Kepco) today said the firm is in negotiations for a stake in Toshiba’s NuGen nuclear project at Moorside in Cumbria.
"We are in negotiations with Toshiba to take some share [in the project]," Jong-hyuck Park, chief nuclear officer at South Korea’s Kepco, said at an industry event in London, according to Reuters.
Park added the Korean state-owned firm would want to use its own nuclear reactor design for the project. Westinghouse, Toshiba’s nuclear arm, won regulatory approval to build its reactors at the site earlier this year. However, question marks have surrounded the project after Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy and France’s Engie backed out, selling its 40 per cent stake to Toshiba.
NuGen's new build on the coast of Cumbria is billed as the biggest nuclear plant in western Europe, and it had planned to generate electricity by 2025.
Park said Kepco will submit its reactor design for approval by the nuclear regulator early next year. If a deal is struck with Toshiba and regulatory approval is given, the plant could be in operation by 2027 or 2028, Park said.
Tom Samson, chief executive of NuGen, said other companies were also interested in investing in the project while at the same event in London today. "No decisions have been taken on ownership or technology," Samson said.
Last month, Chinese state-backed State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation was said to show an interest in NuGen.
Kepco had previously expressed interest in NuGen, but it showed caution in April when it said any deal would not be decided hastily.
A Toshiba spokesperson said: “We would like to explore alternatives, including sales of the shares, while carefully monitoring the situation, in consultation with other stakeholders including the British government. We cannot comment on details of consideration.”