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Hitachi renews interest in Wylfa nuclear project, wants government assurance on funding

Hitachi seeks to resurrect Welsh nuclear plant plans, Ft.com, 16 Aug 20, 

Japanese industrial group wants clarity from UK ministers on financing model,

Hitachi is talking to the UK government about resurrecting plans for a nuclear power plant in north Wales, which were frozen at the start of last year.

 Horizon Nuclear Power, a UK-based subsidiary of Hitachi, has been holding “detailed conversations” with the government in recent weeks to persuade ministers that the proposed Wylfa Newydd plant on Anglesey could be quickly re-mobilised if they can produce a new financing model for large nuclear power stations in Britain.
 Hitachi suspended the £20bn Wylfa project at the start of 2019 after failing to reach an agreement over financing. The Japanese group decided at the time the project still posed “too great a commercial challenge”, despite the UK government offering to take a one-third equity stake and provide debt financing.
But Hitachi has maintained a skeleton staff at Horizon and continued to pursue planning permission for Wylfa after the government launched a review into a “regulated asset base” funding model, which would see consumers pay upfront through their energy bills for a new plant and significantly reduce the construction risk for developers.
 There has also been talk in the industry of the state taking majority stakes in nuclear schemes, which could enable developers such as Horizon to become contractors. A decision on Wylfa’s planning application is expected by the end of next month.   ……….
the clock is also ticking for Horizon, which has to submit a business plan to its parent company by December before its funding expires early next year. It wants clarity from government on its nuclear strategy and a potential funding model by the autumn, when ministers had been expected to publish a delayed energy white paper and national infrastructure strategy.
 If sufficient commitment isn’t forthcoming, Mr Hawthorne conceded it would be “easy” for Hitachi to “say we’re out of here” and sell the site, raising fears CGN could potentially move in. …….
Environment activists insist Britain should not be pursuing large new nuclear plants as other forms of power generation, such as offshore wind, are substantially cheaper.  https://www.ft.com/content/6ec9bdb2-8b5b-4aa3-ad51-a799734273f2

August 17, 2020 - Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK

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