The British government has reportedly chosen South Korea’s next-generation APR-1400 nuclear reactor to use in its current nuclear power construction project worth 21 trillion won (US$18.32 billion). When the UK Parliament gives approval, completing the internal procedure, in the future, it can be the second export deal after the Barakah nuclear power station in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2009.
According to governmental officials on July 11, the NuGen consortium, a developer of Moorside Nuclear Power Station in northwest England, was recently notified that it can use the South Korean nuclear reactor model from the British government, and the NuGen informed the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) of the news. A governmental official said, “It means that South Korea was selected as an alternative model of its nuclear power plant construction. It is meaningful in that the British government chose South Korean nuclear reactor.”
The KEPCO has been in talks with Japan’s Toshiba, a major shareholder of the NuGen consortium which owns a 60 percent stake, from earlier this year to buy the stake. NuGen was formed in 2009 as a 60-40% joint venture between Toshiba and France’s ENGIE to build three nuclear reactors at the Moorside site.
The KEPCO is interested in taking over the 60 percent stake owned by Toshiba and suggest to use its own reactor design in exchange for acceptance. Westinghouse, Toshiba’s US nuclear business, was supposed to provide the reactor design for the project. The UK has opposed to the change in reactor design, though it can accept the KEPCO’s acquisition of the NuGen stake. However, the situation has changed as the South Korean reactor’s competitiveness has been internationally recognized after signing the export deal with the UAE and its safety has proven in South Korea.
The APR-1400 is an advanced pressurized water nuclear reactor designed by the KEPCO. It is the same model exported to the UAE and used in the Shin-Kori 5 and 6 nuclear reactors. The Korean government has ordered a temporary halt to construction of the Shin Kori 5 and 6 units.