NuGen CEO Samson Notes Delayed Start For Moorside Plant

Financial considerations are continuing to hold up progress with the NuGen nuclear power plant project slated for Moorside in northwest England, Chief Executive Officer Tom Samson has said.

NuGen In an interview with Reuters, Samson said that the new time line for the project would be formulated after a new major investor signed onto the project. The original investors included NuGen, owned by Japanese conglomerate Toshiba Corp., and French utility Engie. But Engie pulled out of the deal after the reactor designer Westinghouse Electric Company, also owned by Toshiba, declared bankruptcy in late March of this year.

There are two potential front runners that have indicated interest in the Moorside project, which was originally set up as a site for Westinghouse-designed AP1000 reactors, which have already been given approval by British regulators. One of the potential investors is South Korean industrial giant Korea Electric Power Corp. (Kepco). The other is China General Nuclear Power Corporation, which has submitted its own design for approval in Britain due to a possibility that its design be used for a power plant in Bradwell, England.

We are exploring options for the government to participate in the project,” Samson said, alluding to potential price guarantees for the future plant's electricity. “But it is just a dialogue at the moment and no policy decisions have been made,” he said.

The anticipated schedule, meanwhile, is clearly delayed at this point, he said. “Clearly there will be a shift in the start date from 2025 to later in the 2020s, but the plant could still be up and running before 2030,” he said, noting, "there are multiple credible bidders and we expect to find a new buyer, and a clear way forward by early next year."

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