UK’s Moorside gets boost based on government financial support

One of the largest of the nuclear new builds in the UK will now have government backing for equity investors.  Industry leader cites it as evidence of “unstoppable momentum” in the nation’s plan for nuclear power.

imageNuGeneration Limited (NuGen) has signed a co-operation agreement with UK Treasury to promote financing for a new nuclear power station at Moorside, West Cumbria.

The agreement establishes a process to enable access to the UK Guarantee Scheme. The UK Guarantee Scheme was introduced in 2012 to accelerate investments in major infrastructure projects, and is a key component of any future financing structure for new low-carbon power plants.

NuGen and HM Treasury will work together to see how the Scheme can support arrangement of external project finance for Moorside. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, said:

“We’re happy to have signed this agreement with NuGen. Investment in a new generation of civil nuclear power is part of our long term economic plan to provide Britain with the energy it needs for decades to come.”

“We’ve already done a lot to support new investment through our changes to the planning regime, the Generic Design Approval process and reforms to the electricity market. The Guarantee Scheme is another way in which we can help companies to make the huge investment that building new nuclear power involves.”

Keith Parker, the CEO of the UL’s nuclear energy industry association, told World Nuclear News on 12/02/14 that the announcement “shows there is unstoppable momentum behind the UK’s nuclear new build program. The Guarantee Scheme designed to accelerate private sector investment is a crucial component of this project, and further reinforces nuclear as the lead technology in the UK’s low carbon energy revolution.”

NuGen, supported by its parent companies, Toshiba (60%) and GDF SUEZ (40%), is developing the project. Expected to be composed of three Westinghouse 1150 MW AP1000 nuclear reactors, it is among the largest new nuclear builds in the UK’s energy program. The power station will be built on land northwest of the current Sellafield nuclear site in West Cumbria.

It is the first UK nuclear project to host Westinghouse technology. Eight units of the 1150 MW reactor design are under construction; four in the U.S. and another four in China.

Westinghouse needs to complete the final steps in the UK’s generic design assessment. NuGen expects to have the full range of licenses and permissions in place for the development, ahead of a Final Investment Decision (FID) in 2018.

The first reactor is expected to be connected to the grid by the end of 2024 – with all three providing 3.4 GW of power by the end of 2026.

At an estimated cost of $5000/Kw, the reactors will cost about $17 billion. Balance of plant and power line infrastructure could as as much as 20% to that number for a total expected cost of $20.4 billion. Actual costs could be less since Westinghouse now has a growing body of experience supplying the reactor to customers.

A similar agreement was signed by the Treasury Dept. with Hitachi and Horizon Power to promote financing for the planned 1350 MW ABWRs at the Wylfa nuclear power plant. The government is providing loan guarantees for EDF’s Hinkley site which will build two Areva 1670 MW EPRs.

Horizon gets go ahead to buy long lead time equipment for Wylfa

Horizon Power was told in late November by the UK Office of Nuclear Regulation that it has permission to start buying long lead time equipment for the Wylfa nuclear power station. It will supply 5.4 Gwe of power from four 1350 MW ABWR nuclear reactors to be provided by Hitachi. The first unit is expected to start in revenue service within eight years.

Long lead procurement items are those that take months or even years to fabricate and include such elements as the reactor pressure vessel, turbines, pumps, etc.

Horizon said it will coordinate its procurement plans with regulatory requirements from the nuclear regulator which includes oversight of the equipment, its installation, and eventual operation as part of a complete power station.

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