Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) is expected to buy Toshiba's stake in a consortium that plans to build nuclear power plants in Britain.
"We will take a quick action to buy the Japanese firm's 60 percent stake in the British nuclear consortium NuGen right away when its sales plan is determined,” KEPCO CEO Cho Hwan-eik said to reporters on March 22. Cho, however, made it clear that KEPCO will not take over the debt-ridden Westinghouse Electric Corp.
KEPCO has been rumored to be in talks with Japan's Toshiba and French utility company ENGIE on buying some stake in the multi-billion dollar British nuclear consortium NuGen. NuGen is planning to build three nuclear reactors at the Moorside site on the coast of Cumbria. The consortium has been seeking partners for the nuclear project to reduce the financial burdens.
Toshiba owns 60 percent of the NuGen project estimated at around US$20 billion with ENGIE holding the remaining stake. Toshiba, who had been a major player in the global nuclear sector since 2006 when it purchased Westinghouse, suffered a huge loss from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and the worsening financial difficulties.
If KEPCO acquires Toshiba's NuGen stake, it would be its second overseas nuclear plant project since the deal in 2009 to build four nuclear plants in Barakah, the United Arab Emirates.
"As far as we know, the British and Japanese governments have not yet agreed on how to proceed with Toshiba's NuGen stake sale," Cho said, adding, "As soon as things clear up, we will take necessary steps to acquire the stake.”