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Engie, (formerly GDF Suez) might pull out of UK nuclear power plan at Moorside in Cumbria

scrutiny-on-costsflag-UKMoorside   NuClear News No 91, Jan 2017  Unfortunately for nuclear supporters utilities in the UK are, like PGE, beginning to realise that the old utility model is dying. Engie, formerly GDF Suez, which owns 40% of NuGen, the Company which wants to build three new nuclear reactors at Moorside in Cumbria, next to Sellafield, is fully aware that “the future is going to be much more about decentralized energy”. The company is roughly one third owned by the French Government, and is the parent company of the Belgian utility, Electrabel, which operates all seven of Belgium’s nuclear reactors. But it is now trying to abandon its new reactor projects in Turkey and England because it no longer has the resources to finance such expensive projects. (8)

The Chief Executive of Engie UK, Wilfrid Petrie, says “It’s very difficult today to build a new power plant [in the UK] with current market conditions”. Instead, the Company offers localised services that could include installing insulation, district heating and solar panels on existing buildings as well as supplying gas and electricity. “We see the emergence of a new type of organisation within cities,” he says. Engie, he believes, can build on its relationships with councils and other commercial customers to expand its British business by developing local, decentralised energy in urban areas, where demand is high. “We don’t want to sell a huge amount of energy. Our big focus is on the demand side. The future is going to be much more about decentralized energy,” he says. (9)

If Engie does pull out of the NuGen consortium it will make it even harder to finance the construction of three new reactors at Moorside. NuGen has already told the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee that it is hoping that certain non-nuclear elements of the project might be paid for by the UK Government. Despite casting its net far and wide in an attempt to drum up the required finance the consortium is clearly struggling to attract support. Hoping that the taxpayer will rescue the project, NuGen’s CEO Tom Samson told the House of Lords that one non-nuclear element of the project has been identified by the consortium as the seawater system required to cool Moorside’s reactors. Samson hopes that major ‘civil works’ such as the removal of excavation spoil, could also qualify for Government largesse. There’s also a suggestion there might be Government assistance to improve the transport infrastructure of Cumbria. The very notion that the Treasury should ride to the rescue when hospital and community services in West Cumbria are being increasingly starved of Government support is not going down too well in some quarters. (10)


December 17, 2016 - Posted by | business and costs, UK

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