LONDON, July 14 (Reuters) - NuGen has signed a contract to buy the land at its Moorside site from Britain's Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), the company said on Tuesday, taking development of its proposed nuclear project in northwest England a step closer.
NuGen, a joint venture between Japan's Toshiba and France's ENGIE, plans to build three nuclear reactors at the site next to the Sellafield nuclear site in west Cumbria, which could provide nearly 7 percent of Britain's projected electricity needs and create up to 21,000 jobs, the companies say.
NuGen did not reveal how much it paid for the land but Chief Executive Tom Samson said it was a "major milestone" for the project.
NuGen previously said it planned to make a final investment decision for the Moorside project in 2018 and could start operating the first of the reactors in 2024.
Late last year the British government agreed a preliminary deal to provide a financial guarantee to help fund the development of the project although it did not give details of the amounts involved.
Britain is counting on replacing its ageing fleet of nuclear reactors with new stations. The government is already providing loan guarantees to France's EDF for a 16 billion pound ($25 billion) nuclear plant due to be built in southern England.
$1 = 0.6405 pounds Reporting by Susanna Twidale; Editing by Mark Potter