| LONDON, March 30
LONDON, March 30 Toshiba's
Westinghouse, which filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday, is on
track to win approval for its AP1000 reactor design by the end
of March, Britain's nuclear regulator said.
The approval is necessary before the reactor can be used at
NuGen's Moorside new nuclear project in north west England,
which could generate around 7 percent of Britain's electricity.
Westinghouse's bankruptcy filing has raised questions over
whether it will be able to complete capital intensive projects,
although it does not affect Westinghouse's operations in Asia,
Europe, the Middle East and Africa, according to a company
"We are still expecting to close out the AP1000 GDA (Generic
Design Assessment) by the end of the month, according to the
long-standing timeline," a spokeswoman for Britain's Office for
Nuclear Regulation (ONR) said in an email on Thursday.
All new nuclear plants in Britain need ONR approval through
its GDA process, which typically takes around four years.
Westinghouse's AP1000 approval however, has taken much
longer since assessment first began in 2007. It was paused by
the ONR at the end of December 2011 while it asked for some
design modifications, but was resumed in 2014.
Britain needs to invest in new infrastructure to replace
ageing coal and nuclear plants set to close in the next decade,
but has struggled to get large projects built, especially
nuclear, due to the costs involved.
EDF's 18 billion pound ($22.5 billion) Hinkley
Point C nuclear project in southwest England got the final
go-ahead in 2016 after several years of delay, but only after
securing backing from the French government.
NuGen, a joint venture between Toshiba and French utility
Engie has also come under doubt since Japan's Toshiba
said last month it planned to pull out of the construction work
at the British plant after posting a $6.3 billion writedown on
Westinghouse, which has been hit by billions of dollars in cost
overruns at new nuclear plants.
A spokesman for NuGen said it could not comment on specific
financial issues relating directly to Toshiba or Westinghouse
and that it will continue "business as usual" to gain the
necessary permits and licenses to build the project.
Britain's GMB trade union has called on the government to
offer reassurances that the project, which it says could provide
thousands of jobs, will still go ahead.
"The UK Government is committed to new nuclear," a
spokeswoman for the Department for Business, Energy and
Industrial Strategy said.
"The UK is one of the most attractive countries to invest in
new nuclear and we engage regularly with the developers of
proposed new nuclear projects," she said.
(Additional reporting by Nina Chestney; editing by Alexander