Consultancy firms working for the government on a potential multibillion-pound project to build a nuclear power station in north Wales are also advising its Japanese developer. Arup, the engineering and design company, and PWC are advising the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Horizon Nuclear Power, a subsidiary of Hitachi, which is developing the Wylfa Newydd project on Anglesey. Details of the advisers were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and triggered concerns among politicians and environmental groups of a potential conflict of interest. Meg Hillier, chairwoman of the Commons’ public accounts committee, said that the problem stemmed from a lack of competition among consulting firms with the expertise to do the work and “to your average punter it looks a bit cosy . . . There are safeguards, but who is there to ensure the safeguards are in place?” Wylfa has already been criticised for potentially exposing taxpayers to a risky project whose costs could spiral, but its supporters welcome what would be the biggest infrastructure project in Wales for a generation and key to generating new power as ageing reactors and old polluting coal plants close. Tender documents submitted to the business department show that Arup is providing planning and environmental impact assessment for Wylfa. Arup is also advising on “seismic risk assessments and ground investigations”. PWC, one of the Big Four accountants, is working for Horizon, but the nature of its contract was not specified beyond it stating “we are not providing any lead financial advisory services”. John Sauven, UK executive director of Greenpeace, said there were serious concerns about the lack of transparency surrounding nuclear deals. “This sounds like the kind of cosy arrangement where one hand washes the other at the expense of both sound economics and the public’s interest,” he said.
Times 30th July 2018 read more »
A nuclear power plant project in Britain is giving Japan a glimmer of hope for spurring infrastructure exports, a key growth strategy of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Hitachi Ltd. and the U.K. government started official talks last month on building new reactors in Wales, with a goal of firing them up in the first half of the 2020s. The outlook for the ¥3 trillion project is unclear, with both sides facing a string of challenges in the talks going forward. For Tokyo, the plan is one of its few remaining major overseas projects on the horizon, with other nuclear power generation plans discontinued or facing cancellation. The government’s bet on nuclear power plants as a pillar of infrastructure exports comes as the likes of Germany, Italy, Taiwan and South Korea are pulling out of atomic power generation. Critics argue that a surge in safety costs and accident worries caused by the 2011 Fukushima disaster, in addition to the lack of viable disposal solutions for radioactive waste, mean there is no justification for keeping faith in nuclear energy. Compounding the sector’s decline is the rapidly dropping cost of tapping such renewable energy sources as wind and solar power.
Japan Times 29th July 2018 read more »