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Horizon nuclear venture wants direct tax-payer funding for its Wylfa nuclear station project

Times 8th Dec 2017. Hitachi could stop funding the development of a new nuclear plant on
Anglesey unless the government agrees a viable financial support package by
the middle of next year, the head of the project has warned.

Duncan Hawthorne, chief executive of the Horizon venture, said that its Japanese
owners had already spent £2 billion and would not keep “throwing a
bottomless pit of cash at a project without some certainty it can get to a
successful conclusion”.

Horizon is in talks with the UK and Japanese governments about possible direct state funding for its proposed plant at
Wylfa Newydd. Ministers appeared yesterday to move closer to agreeing
direct funding as the Nuclear Industry Council, a joint industry-government
body that is co-chaired by Richard Harrington, the energy minister,
recommended looking at models including the government taking an equity
stake in projects.

The National Audit Office has said that such models
could significantly reduce the cost to consumers compared with Hinkley
Point C, Britain’s first new plant in a generation. In further nuclear
industry developments yesterday The Nuclear Industry Council set targets
for reducing the costs to consumers of nuclear plants by up to 30 per cent
by 2030. The head of the Nugen venture developing reactors in Cumbria said
that its proposed acquisition from Toshiba by South Korea’s Kepco, which
plans to use its own reactor design, could delay its first power until
2030.

The government announced a fresh review into ways of financing small
nuclear reactors, and £4 million funding for feasibility studies into
other early-stage technologies. Mr Hawthorne acknowledged that the
government as a whole was yet to be convinced on the idea of direct
financing, with the Treasury concerned about anything that would put a
plant on its balance sheet, but said time was running out. He told The
Times: “We have been saying we need to have some confidence that the basis
of a transaction exists and we need to see some documentary evidence of
that. By the middle of 2018, we need to have something tangible to show to
our shareholders that allows them to keep funding.”
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/business/hitachi-will-stop-anglesey-nuclear-plant-funds-without-deal-mbjzk6jj2

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December 9, 2017 - Posted by | politics, UK

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