Toshiba/Westinghouse intend to sell some of their stake in the Moorside AP1000 project in the UK within the first year of plant operations, in order to invest capital in other units, Westinghouse president and CEO Danny Roderick said.
Ealier this summer Toshiba completed a deal to acquire a 60% stake in NuGeneration Ltd, the company that plans to develop three AP1000 reactors at Moorside near Sellafield in West Cumbria. Toshiba purchased a 50% stake from Spanish utility Iberdrola and a 10% stake from joint venture partner GDF Suez, which retains a 40% share in the project company. Westinghouse is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Toshiba.
According to Roderick, GDF Suez will take back some of the stake in the Moorside project and there will be 'other investors' that come in over time.
He stressed that Westinghouse was a short-term, high-risk investor, which works off 'fairly low margins,' while utility investors are looking for a long-term rate of return over up to 60 years of operation.
Westinghouse, he said, hopes to be 'out of the project' within the first year of operation. This would free up the company to invest capital in other units.
The Westinghouse AP1000 is currently completing phase 4 of the UK generic design assessment (GDA), and Westinghouse says it hopes to clear up any outsanding questions on the GDA process within the next 12-18 months. The company is also carrying out site-specific work for Moorside, and needs to get a contract for difference agreed with the UK government.
EDF Energy is currently awaiting a decision from the European Commission on whether its proposed funding mechanism for Hinkley Point C, which includes a minimum 'strike price' for power to be delivered under the contract for difference, constitutes legal state aid. NuGen envisages a similar CfD for the Moorside project.
"We are all very anxiously awaiting the ruling from the EU on how the contract for differences will be addressed," said Roderick.
"We are very hopeful that in October we will get definitive answers and it will allow the investor confidence that we need to turn technical work and ideas into putting shovels in the ground."
A final investment decision on the Moorside project is anticipated in 2018. The first units at Moorside are expected online in 2024/25.