By Nam Hyun-woo
Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) has lost its status as a preferred bidder to buy stakes in a nuclear plant operator in the U.K., after a seven-month delay in signing an actual deal, officials said, Tuesday.
According to the state-run utility company, Toshiba, which has a 100 percent stake in a British nuclear consortium NuGen, told KEPCO that it had stripped the Korean firm of its status as a preferred bidder to buy the consortium that will run the Moorside nuclear power plant.
KEPCO was selected as the priority bidder in December last year, but saw repeated delays in closing the deal.
Toshiba told KEPCO, July 25, that it would open the door to other bidders and study alternative options in consultation with the U.K. government and other stakeholders.
But the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said that talks with Toshiba and KEPCO are still ongoing and the U.K. government has said that it will consider KEPCO as a bidder -- tantamount to a preferred bidder -- and continue consultations with Korea.
The NuGen project is to build three 3.4-gigawatt reactors in Cumbria. The project is worth 15 billion pounds ($19.7 billion).