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Britain’s severe nuclear financial headache

Times 18th Jan 2019 , One thing that all these new power plants had in common was a reliance on foreign money. The same is true for proposed plants at Bradwell B and Sizewell C.  Hitachi, too, was involved in a proposed plant in Gloucestershire, which is now unlikely to progress.

Such is the vast cost of nuclear projects that few companies in the world can afford to finance them alone, and even governments struggle.

In today’s money, Hinkley C is expected to cost twice as much as the Channel tunnel. George Osborne, as
chancellor, guaranteed a return of £92.50 at 2012 prices per megawatt hour (Mwh) generated. For context, one Mwh of offshore wind power, once thought ridiculously expensive, guarantees suppliers £57.50.

Britain now finds itself with a headache. With many already regarding the Cameron government’s trust in Chinese involvement as a potential compromise of national security, it is unlikely that there would be further appetite for
a replacement Chinese partner, even if one could be found.

The French may also consider themselves already overcommitted to British projects.

Ministers will be wary, at any rate, of offering guarantees as expensive as Hinkley. Greg Clark, secretary of state for business and energy, confirmed yesterday that the government planned an energy white paper in the summer
to propose new methods for attracting nuclear financing. Pressing ahead without new nuclear capacity is plausible, but not without a considerable expansion of renewable energy and its storage capabilities. Customers may need to pay more for energy at busier times or invest in domestic storage of their own.

January 19, 2019 - Posted by | politics, UK

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