Ministers are poised to admit that taxpayer cash will be used to fund a new fleet of nuclear power stations – reversing years of government opposition to direct public subsidy. With Britain’s ageing coal plants due to shut by 2025, the government is banking on new nuclear reactors going up at sites including Wylfa in Anglesey, north Wales, and Moorside in Cumbria. Successive energy ministers have insisted that no public cash will be used to fund this new generation. Yet industry sources claim the business and energy secretary, Greg Clark, accepts that this hands-off approach cannot persist if the plants are to be built. They say Whitehall is preparing to launch a consultation, possibly this summer, on the government taking minority equity stakes in new nuclear projects to kick-start their construction. The future of the NuGen consortium building the Cumbrian plant will be thrown into doubt this week when the financially troubled Japanese industrial giant Toshiba confirms its retreat from the industry. To ensure the plant is built, British taxpayer cash will probably be matched with funds from the Japanese government, possibly via the Japan Bank for International Co-operation and Nippon Export and Investment Insurance.Japan’s Hitachi, which is behind the Wylfa project, is locked in talks with the British and Japanese governments over how to fund the 2.7-gigawatt station. The consultation on state equity is likely to be launched alongside an outline deal on funding Wylfa. Sources said the deal and the consultation are not certain and could yet collapse.
Sunday Times 12th Feb 2017 read more »