Ministers at the top of the UK government are wrangling over how to support the multibillion pound development of a host of new nuclear power plants, with some senior Treasury officials hostile to direct state subsidy. Philip Hammond, chancellor, and Greg Clark, business secretary, have both taken part in talks over support for new plants at Wylfa in Anglesey and Moorside in Cumbria, according to people involved in the process. The government views the projects, each expected to cost more than £10bn, as crucial to UK energy security and tackling climate change: Britain’s coal-fired power stations are being phased out and existing nuclear plants are reaching the end of their lives. Any deal would have to overcome opposition from parts of the Treasury, which has for decades resisted the idea of direct government investment in the expensive and risky business of building nuclear reactors. However, the question of how to support UK nuclear power has been given new urgency by the financial crisis at Toshiba, which is the main shareholder in the NuGen consortium behind Moorside. Toshiba is expected to spell out on Tuesday the full extent of an expected multibillion-dollar writedown on its US nuclear business and this could lead to its withdrawal from Moorside and other reactor construction projects around the world. NuGen is pinning its hopes on a mooted investment by Korea Electric Power Corporation, which is owned by the South Korean government, to keep Moorside on track; a deal for Kepco to buy some or all of Toshiba’s stake in NuGen could be announced soon, according to senior people in the nuclear industry. But even with Korean backing, NuGen is likely to need some form of government support to raise the billions of pounds needed for construction. The same is true of the Wylfa project planned by Horizon, which itself is owned by Hitachi, in Wales. People involved in both projects acknowledge that their plants will have to be cheaper than Hinkley to be politically viable.
FT 12th Feb 2017 read more »
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 say that energy secretary, Greg Clarke, that this hands-off approach and not persist if the plants are to be built. They say that Whitehall is preparing to launch a consultation…
Nuclear News 12th Feb 2017 read more »