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“I’ll fight tooth and nail” to salvage Moorside nuclear power project – says NuGen chief

NuGen chief vows to “fight tooth and nail” to salvage Moorside nuclear power project, News and Star , 21 Sept 18,  Tom Samson makes impassioned pledge at the second Cumbria Nuclear Conference  The boss of NuGen has vowed to “fight tooth and nail” to salvage the £15 billion Moorside nuclear power station in an impassioned speech to industry leaders gathered in Cumbria.

Tom Samson, chief executive of the company set to develop the plant in West Cumbria, also told around 150 delegates at the second Cumbria Nuclear Conference at Carlisle Racecourse on Friday, that he was fully behind using the Regulated Asset Base (RAB) model to fund the “transformational” project.

In his first public address since NuGen made more than 70 staff redundant because of delays to a deal between current owners Toshiba and prospective buyers Kepco, he warned that the threat of winding up the company was “very real”.

With Toshiba’s exit from NuGen definite, Mr Samson stressed it was crunch time for a project that has the potential to create thousands of jobs in Cumbria and generate around seven per cent of the UK’s energy needs.

“My commitment to Cumbria is that I will fight tooth and nail to find a solution, and indeed a sustainable solution, we can depend upon with real determination to avoid a wind up of NuGen,” he said at the conference, hosted by Carlisle MP John Stevenson. “The deal with Kepco may still come to fruition, but we cannot just wait for them to make a decision. It is essential that this project (Moorside) goes ahead and we therefore have to consider alternative ways forward.”

Kepco is understood to have a deal for NuGen on the table but will not sign on the dotted line until it has undertaken a study in to the risks and profitability of applying RAB model to finance Moorside, which allows government regulators to ensure stable returns and finance through government support.

Delays to the deal led Toshiba to strip Kepco of “preferred bidder” status in August. Toshiba is now understood to be in talks with a number of other investors including Brookfield Asset Management, which bought Westinghouse from Toshiba at the beginning of the year for $4.6 billion.

But Mr Samson expressed his support for deploying the RAB model to finance NuGen, although he was keen to stress no firm decisions had been made on whether it would be used.

“I am convinced that the model which is now being proposed by the Government could provide NuGen with a viable path forward which puts NuGen in control of its own future,” he said……….

A recent report from the NIC recommended delivering just one more nuclear power station after Hinkley Point C – namely the Horizon Nuclear Power project at Wylfa Newydd – before pausing for around 10 years to gather evidence on how competitive renewable energy and battery storage projects are in comparison.

Mr Samson said NuGen was “deeply shocked” at the suggestion, which could further damage efforts to progress Moorside, and accused the NIC of failing to recognise the complexity of new nuclear projects and their vital contribution to providing a stable source of energy……….

The event – organised by John Stevenson MP to encourage greater collaboration in the nuclear sector – was sponsored by WYG, UCLan, NuGen and the Centre of Nuclear Excellence.  http://www.newsandstar.co.uk/news/business/NuGen-chief-vows-to-fight-tooth-and-nail-to-salvage-Moorside-nuclear-power-project-df430793-5e25-42dc-b1ea-ff67886b4f06-ds

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September 21, 2018 - Posted by | business and costs, UK

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