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UK nuclear reactor deal: contract expected to go to US

Oilfield Technology,

The UK government sold the nuclear company, Westinghouse, three years ago to Toshiba, which owns 77% of the company, with US-based Shaw Group owning 20%.  

Expressing concern 
It is said to have appointed US-based Shaw Group to head up its £10 billion nuclear programme, although contracts are not yet signed. With Shaw and Westinghouse already working on a partnership to build reactors in the Middle East and USA, Shaw has partnered with British construction firm Laing O'Rourke for the UK bid, but the firm will not provide the high specification components for the reactors. British-based manufacturers such as BAE Systems and Rolls Royce have expressed concern over the fact that contracts to make reactor modules could be relocated to Shaw's manufacturing bases in the USA and Belgium. However, Westinghouse has preliminarily indicated that up to 80% of components would be sourced from the UK.  

Allocation of contracts 
In the UK, E.ON and RWE npower have formed a nuclear joint venture, and Westinghouse is hoping to secure contracts to build at least four of its AP1000 reactors with these partners early in 2010. French reactor firm Areva is building the remainder of the UK's reactors on behalf of EDF Energy, and has indicated that British firms will only be permitted to bid for up to 70% of the supply contracts.

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