KEPCO Suffers Setback in U.K. Reactor Project

  • By Choi Hyun-mook

    August 01, 2018 13:25

    Korean power monopoly KEPCO has lost its preferred-bidder status for a 15-billion British pound order for a nuclear reactor from the U.K.

    The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said Tuesday, "Toshiba last week notified us of the cancellation of our preferred-bidder status because it wants the opportunity to negotiate with other companies."

    The ministry swiftly dispatched a team of officials to London on Sunday to try and persuade the British government to reconsider. Although Toshiba has the rights to the project, including selling it to anyone it likes, the British government holds the key since it must repay the cost of the construction through proceeds from utility fees.

    KEPCO became caught up in a tug-of-war between the British government and Toshiba, which is in a hurry to sell off the nuclear plant project due to a cash crunch. The deal was supposed to be signed by the end of June but has been delayed.

    The Guardian reported Sunday that KEPCO was initially seen as a savior for the troubled project, but the deal has yet to be inked due uncertainties posed by the Korean government and the newly appointed KEPCO chief. That suggests negotiations lost steam due to the Korean government's nuclear phase-out plans.

    KEPCO had beaten China General Nuclear as preferred bidder last year and had hoped to complete three nuclear reactors in Moorside by 2025.

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