Westinghouse Electric Corp. has entered into an agreement to build three AP1000 nuclear reactors in the United Kingdom, opening a door in a nuclear-friendly country that the Cranberry company has been knocking on for years.
Toshiba Corp., the Japanese parent of Westinghouse, will buy a 60 percent share in the NuGeneration Limited Moorside project in the northeastern part of the U.K. The cost is expected to be $168 million. That will forge a partnership between Westinghouse and GDF Suez, a French energy company that will retain 40 percent of the project.
In entering the NuGen project, Toshiba is buying out Spanish energy company Iberdrola's 50 percent stake, with the remaining 10 coming from GDF.
Toshiba anticipates finalizing the deal in the first half of the year, and Westinghouse said Tuesday that it expects the first reactor on the project to begin operating in 2024.
The AP1000 is Westinghouse's newest pressurized water reactor, which is designed to withstand a loss of external power and to use gravity for cooling in the event of an accident.
The U.K. is one of few bright spots for the nuclear industry in Europe. It has not scaled back plans to build 12 new nuclear reactors by 2025 in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown in 2011. That meltdown, triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami, shut down the nuclear ambitions of Germany, Switzerland and Italy.
Westinghouse initially bid on the Horizon project, which would put up to six reactors in North Wales and South Gloucestershire, but it was defeated by Japanese company Hitachi. Another site, called Hinkley Point in Somerset, is being developed by a French utility and French nuclear giant Areva.
Anya Litvak: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1455
Anya Litvak: email@example.com or 412-263-1455. First Published January 14, 2014 1:14 PM