South Korea‘s sole utility provider Korea Electric Power Corp. has been selected as the preferred bidder for the Moorside nuclear power plant project in the UK, a source familiar with the matter told The Korea Herald Wednesday.
The Korean utility provider has been moving to acquire the 100 percent share held by Toshiba in the NuGen consortium that is developing the Moorside project.
Kepco‘s selection is anticipated to be announced before the week’s end, according to sources.
This will be South Korea‘s first export of nuclear power project since the 2009 deal with United Arab Emirates.
When the deal is secured, Korea’s largest utility provider will lead the nuclear power plant project worth some $18 billion.
Toshiba and the UK government have been reviewing options of investors and Kepco has been touted as the most likely candidate.
Earlier in the year, Kepco had confirmed that the company was in negotiations with Toshiba about buying the shares in its NuGen subsidiary. China General Nuclear Power had also expressed interest in bidding for the deal.
Toshiba, which has been holding 60 percent of the project‘s share, has been searching for new investors since a French joint venture partner Engie‘s that had held the other 40 percent pulled out of the project. Toshiba has said it could no longer finance the project citing extensive losses at its Westinghouse US nuclear business.
In July, Toshiba completed the acquisition of Engie‘s share.
Kepco’s move, however, briefly hit a snag upon the Moon Jae-in administration and its nuclear-free initiative.
The Seoul government has since affirmed its intention to fully support exports of South Korean businesses and technologies related to nuclear energy.
In November, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy signed a memorandum of understanding with its UK counterpart as part of a move to support Korean firms in the civilian nuclear energy sector.
By Shim Woo-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)