LONDON — Toshiba, the Japanese industrial giant, and the French utility GDF Suez have announced plans for moving ahead with a new British nuclear power station, adding momentum to the country’s atomic energy program.
The facility, called Moorside, would be located in northwest England near the Irish Sea and would eventually have three Westinghouse reactors, supplying close to 7 percent of Britain’s power, the companies said on Monday.
The announcement strengthens the role of an important supplier of nuclear technology — Toshiba and its Westinghouse unit — as the crucial player in the project. In a reorganization completed recently, Toshiba will be taking a 60 percent stake in the joint venture that would build the plants, buying the 50 percent share held by Iberdrola, a Spanish utility, and a 10 percent slice from GDF Suez, for a total of about £100 million. GDF Suez will retain 40 percent.
The joint venture, called NuGen, announced that new management was taking over under the leadership of the chief executive Sandy Rupprecht, an American who formerly headed development of the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor.
NuGen plans to build its plants just north of Sellafield, a site with a long history in the nuclear industry, including a fire in 1957 that caused radioactive contamination of the surrounding region.
Sellafield, where weapons-grade plutonium was once made, now houses facilities for reprocessing and storing spent fuel, as well as for cleaning up old equipment. Martin Forwood, a local environmental campaigner, said that NuGen would face many challenges, including limited water supplies to use as coolant for the reactors.
Mr. Forwood, who is a leader of a group called Cumbrians Opposed to a Radiocative Environment, said that by the time the developers had overcome all the obstacles, nuclear energy might seem obsolete.
“More and more renewable energy is being built” in the area, he said. “If the nuclear industry does not get its act together, it will wind up being redundant.”
Read more at Toshiba and GDF Suez Push Ahead on British Nuclear Plant