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atw Vol. 63 (2018) | Issue 1 ı January 10 INSIDE NUCLEAR WITH NUCNET UK Is Leading the Way With Clear Strategy for Nuclear NucNet The UK is Europe’s most prominent leader in nuclear development because of the government’s clear ­strategy of supporting nuclear energy as part of its future energy mix, a senior official from US-based nuclear equipment manufacturer Westinghouse Electric Company said. Michael Kirst, Westinghouse’s vice-president of strategy for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), warned, however, that choices about nuclear development must be based on technology, and not on the type of financing package. “We now have a banking ­contest and not a technology contest and this is not healthy for the industry or the energy system,” he said. Mr Kirst told reporters in Brussels that the UK government’s decision to support the financing of new energy projects, including nuclear, by way of a contract for difference (CfD) scheme was a breakthrough. “The UK government made it clear they need these new nuclear capacities”, he said. The UK model provides a “fair foundation” where all low-carbon technologies were given exactly the same access to state support. Mr Kirst said Westinghouse, a privately owned company, does not have access to state support on demand, unlike its major competitors in the nuclear industry, which are “somehow state-owned or state-controlled”. A clear market signal for private investors in nuclear development is therefore essential because it allows choices based on technology, rather than on a financing package, Mr Kirst said. Speaking about NuGen’s planned three-unit Moorside nuclear project in Cumbria, northwest England, the company’s president for EMEA, Luc Van Hulle, said there are “a couple of options on the table” and Westinghouse’s AP1000 Generation III+ pressurised water reactor technology is still potentially one of these options. The future of the Moorside project to build three AP1000s has been overshadowed by Westinghouse’s filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US in March 2017, along with Westinghouse owner Toshiba’s financial woes and its decision to no longer serve as a contractor of engineering, procurement and construction for overseas nuclear projects. Mr Van Hulle said the Moorside project became “more complicated” after Engie sold its 40 % stake in NuGen to Toshiba in April 2017, making the Japanese company the sole owner of the project. But he said Westinghouse is ­confident that the project will proceed “one way or another”. He said the fate of the project is in the hands of the UK government and NuGen’s owner Toshiba. Last month state media reported that China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) is considering investing in Moorside, while in March 2017, South Korea’s Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) expressed an interest in taking a stake in NuGen. Mr Van Hulle said that holding on to the AP1000 design will be the securest and fastest way to realise the Moorside project because the plant completed the UK’s generic design assessment (GDA) review by regulators in the UK in March 2017. If NuGen chooses another technology, the process of going through another GDA process could delay the project by four or five years, 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,” NuGen’s chief executive officer Tom Samson told Reuters last week. Mr Samson said the timing will largely depend on the technology choice, because the new bidders may want to bring in their own designs. However, Mr Samson said: “We are not ruling out any technology at this stage.” In the US, the expected delay to the Vogtle nuclear project and the cancellation of the Summer project in South Carolina was not related to the AP1000 technology, Mr Van Hulle said. He said the AP1000 design is “safe and sound” and the AP1000 reactor units being built in China will prove this once they enter commercial operation. There are four AP1000 nuclear units under construction in China – two at Sanmen and two at Haiyang – all expected to become commercially operational in 2018. | | AP1000 new build in Haiyang, China. South Carolina Electric and Santee Cooper, the two US utilities that co-own the Summer AP1000 project, decided to suspend its construction in July 2017 quoting cost overruns and schedule delays. Mr Van Hulle said the utilities’ decision to stop construction was “saddening” because of the advanced stage of development, with all nuclear steam supply systems having been installed. He said the Summer units will not be completed in the “foreseeable future”, but there is a possibility that a new owner could take over the project. In September 2017, the owners of the two-unit Vogtle AP1000 project in Georgia recommended completing construction, despite Westinghouse’s financial woes and increased costs. The two new reactors at Vogtle, units 3 and 4, under construction since 2013, represent the first US deployment of the AP1000 technology. According to Mr Van Hulle, despite its current difficulties in the US, Westinghouse has a “very sound base business” which will serve as the backbone of the company’s future. In August 2017, Westinghouse submitted a five-year business plan to the company’s debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing lenders and the unsecured creditors committee. Inside Nuclear with NucNet UK Is Leading the Way With Clear Strategy for Nuclear ı NucNet

atw Vol. 63 (2018) | Issue 1 ı January The company said at the time that this marked a critical milestone in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process. The plan integrates Westinghouse’s initiatives into a five-year financial forecast and would result in projected savings of $20 5m (€ 174 m) expected to improve earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) over the five-year term. Westinghouse said the plan supports the operation of its core businesses and its new projects business. One component of the savings will be global staff reductions, starting with 7 % of staff being made redundant in fiscal year 2017. Since filing for Chapter 11 in March 2017, Westinghouse has obtained approval of an $ 800 m DIP financing ­package and has negotiated a long-term services agreement with Southern Nuclear Company for the two AP1000 plants under construction at Vogtle. “We are well on track with exiting the Chapter 11 process”, Mr Van Hulle said. Asked to comment on the potential for nuclear development in other EU member states, Mr Van Hulle said Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic could be expected to develop existing or new nuclear capacities. Potential exists also in non-EU countries like Switzerland, Turkey and particularly Ukraine, he said. According to Mr Kirst, Ukraine’s reactor fleet operates at an average load factor of about 70 % compared to 85 to 90 % in the US and EU. “There is a lot of untapped energy that can come online at a very low cost and this is what we have been suggesting to the Ukrainian government”, Mr Kirst said. Mr Van Hulle said there is also an opportunity for Westinghouse to expand its business relationships in Ukraine in terms of fuel supplies and plant operation, availability and energy distribution. “With the amount of reactors they have they can be ­really influential in non-Russia based VVER technology”, he noted. Westinghouse has contracts to supply nuclear fuel for six VVER reactor units in Ukraine, as well as core monitoring systems for Zaporozhye-5, and a potential uprate project at South Ukraine-3. Ukraine operates a fleet of 15 commercial units, all of the VVER pressurised water reactor design and built during the Soviet Era. Mr Kirst said Ukraine is the only country which has ­significantly diversified its nuclear fuel supply away from Russia, while EU counties which use VVER reactors remain completely dependent on Russian supply. “There have not been significant efforts in Brussels to address that issue, which is interesting considering that they are talking about an energy union and the need for secure and diverse energy supplies”, he said. 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Any use made thereof outside the Copyright Act without the consent of the publisher, INFORUM Verlags- und Verwaltungsgesellschaft mbH, is prohibited. This applies to reproductions, translations, microfilming and the input and incorporation into electronic systems. The individual author is held responsible for the contents of the respective paper. Please address letters and manuscripts only to the Editorial Staff and not to individual persons of the association´s staff. We do not assume any responsibility for unrequested contributions. Signed articles do not necessarily represent the views of the editorial. | | Layout Kommunikation Berlin, Germany Antje Zimmermann | | Printing inpuncto:asmuth druck + medien gmbh Baunscheidtstraße 11 53113 Bonn ISSN 1431-5254 Inside Nuclear with NucNet UK Is Leading the Way With Clear Strategy for Nuclear ı NucNet