Theresa May has reportedly just agreed to loan a Japanese firm £13.4bn to spend on a nuclear power plant. But according to Caroline Lucas, she’s doing it “without any transparency or scrutiny”, effectively lending out public money behind closed doors. The government has given the go-ahead for a replacement plant at the Wylfa Newydd nuclear power site on Anglesey. It will be constructed by a consortium of three companies: Hitachi Nuclear Energy Europe, US-based Bechtel Management Company, and Japanese firm JGC Corporation (UK). Horizon Nuclear Power will oversee the £14bn project. On 11 May, the Nikkei Asian Review reported that May has agreed to loan Hitachi $18.2bn (£13.4bn) for the project. She reportedly agreed to the loan during a meeting on 3 May with Hitachi chairman Hiroaki Nakanishi. A report in the Mainichi on 9 May said that the UK government had effectively offered to underwrite the debt.
The Canary 11th May 2018 read more »
The British government has offered to arrange a loan of $18.2bn to persuade Hitachi to press on with plans to build two reactors at the decommissioned Wylfa Newydd nuclear power station in Wales. Hiroaki Nakanishi, the chair of Hitachi, met with Theresa May in London last Thursday to ask for greater UK state support for the project, including direct lending and loan guarantees to reduce the project’s borrowing costs. The company is also looking for an increase in the price that will be paid for the 2.9GW of electricity that is eventually generated at Wylfa. At the end of last month, Hitachi said it was looking to sell a majority stake in Horizon Nuclear Power, the company set up to carry out nuclear work in the UK by two German utilities, but which is now wholly owned by the Japanese engineer. Hitachi’s decision followed a review that put the cost of construction at about £20bn, which it regarded as more risk than it could bear. London has been trying to revive Hitachi’s enthusiasm for the scheme by putting forward ways to reduce its financial exposure. A failure to build a Wylfa, following on from the difficult birth of the EDF’s Hinkley Point C project in Somerset, would cast doubt on the UK’s plan to build a third generation of reactors at the UK’s nuclear sites. The Nikkei Asian Review reports that the British government will submit a formal proposal to the Japanese in the next few days, after which the Hitachi board will make a final decision about the scheme before the end of May.
Global Construction Review 11th May 2018 read more »
In response to reports in the Japanese media that the UK government has agreed to guarantee all the 2 trillion yen of loans necessary for Hitachi to build a reactor at Wylfa, and further requests from the company for the government to take a multi-billion pound stake in the project, Hannah Martin, Head of Energy at Greenpeace UK, said -“No bank, hedge fund or insurer will touch the UK’s new nuclear programme with a bargepole. So Hitachi have no option but to ask the government for a taxpayer bailout to keep their collapsing reactor programme afloat. This would leave the British public to carry much of the cost and all of the risk. Any prudent investor would laugh at this request. After the Hinkley debacle, it’s vital that the government stops trying to keep our energy policy a secret and presents any offer of a deal to Parliament before the Hitachi board meeting at the end of May. Otherwise it’s difficult to know where their generosity to the nuclear industry might end.”
Greenpeace 11th May 2018 read more »