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Sizewell C nuclear plant “will never get built” due to impossibility of raising finance for it.

 Sizewell C: UK tapping up Saudi and UAE investors as it struggles to bring in nuclear investment funds.

The UK is approaching foreign investors to fill a gaping funding hole in Sizewell C as the Government struggles to attract attention for nuclear investment, i can reveal.

In his final major policy speech as Prime Minister, this week Boris Johnson announced £700m in funding for the nuclear project in Suffolk, urging his successor to “go nuclear and go large and go with Sizewell C”. But the scheme, which is estimated to cost more than £20bn, is struggling to drum up interest amid a diminishing appetite for nuclear investments.

Barclays and Rothschild banks have been hired to help the UK fill the remaining stake, but i understands that negotiations have not yet begun between Barclays and potential investors, and investment is still in the preparatory stages. The UK has approached investors in the UAE, Australia and Saudi Arabia in a bid
to shore up financial support, sources told i. An industry source said the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) were “definitely interested” and had already visited the UK to discuss nuclear collaboration, with further meetings planned this month. A Government source confirmed that talks had taken place with ENEC and were set to continue. ENEC is thought to be keen to expand on the launch of the Barakah power plant in Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s first nuclear site.

Another source said that Macquarie, an Australian bank, had also been approached by Rothschild and been given a presentation on Sizewell C.

A finance source said securing investment has proved “not as easy” as No 10 had envisaged and there were not many Western-based funds that would get involved with nuclear. Many investors are understood to be reluctant to invest in Sizewell C over economic considerations, and over ESG – environmental, social and governance – concerns, such as how nuclear waste is dealt with.

Dr Paul Dorfman, a nuclear energy expert at the University of Sussex, said that the “market has fled nuclear.” He added: “There is no nuclear being built without vast public subsidy. The market has said no to nuclear, because it’s completely uneconomic and doesn’t make financial sense. It’s hugely expensive, the learning curve is completely static, the renewable market is off the wall. Last year, 84 per cent of all new power capacity worldwide was renewable, but nuclear is nowhere.

Jérôme Guillet – who has worked in energy for 25 years and was managing director of renewable energy
financial advisory firm Green Giraffe – said that private investment in nuclear power was extremely hard to come by, with renewable energy now cheaper and the infrastructure faster to build. “Nuclear has just become too expensive,” because of the high safety and financing costs, he said. He added that investment was likely only to come from those already involved in nuclear, such as EDF, or those with political interest, such as Chinese companies – and that the funds may never be raised.

“My personal opinion is that this plant will never get built. The delays to Flamanville [a nuclear project in northern France] and Hinkley Point will push any decision into the future, and by the time it could be taken, enough offshore wind will have been built to make the question moot.”

 iNews 4th Sept 2022

September 6, 2022 - Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK

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