N-PLANT FINANCE BOOST
Government mulling direct investment in major lift for £15bn Wylfa Newydd chances
THE UK Government has confirmed it will consider direct investment with Hitachi and Horizon Nuclear Power on the development of a new nuclear power station at Wylfa Newydd.
Secretary of State for Business and Energy Greg Clark gave an oral statement to the House of Commons on the multi-billion pound nuclear project on Monday.
This confirmed talks would now start and the UK Government will consider a direct investment in the plant alongside the developer and Japanese government agencies. This would be instead of the ‘strike price’ agreement for the Hinkley Point C development in Gloucestershire.
Prime Minister Theresa May met Hitachi chairman Hiroaki Nakanishi last month for crunch talks on funding for nuclear reactors. There were warnings Hitachi could withdraw from the ventures on Anglesey and in Gloucestershire unless assurances were made on finances.
Wylfa Newydd could cost around £15bn to build and this announcement is a major boost to the prospects of the scheme.
Mr Clark said: “We will now be entering into negotiations with Hitachi on the next phase of the Wylfa project.”
Horizon anticipate it will create up to 9,000 jobs at the peak of construction. With two reactors onsite, the plant would also support close to 1,000 jobs during operation and aims to start generating electricity in the mid-2020s.
Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns said: “There are few challenges more important than securing a sustainable energy future as part of our modern Industrial Strategy.
“By entering into negotiations, the UK Government is also highlighting the attractiveness of Wales as a place to do business and invest. This would be the biggest infrastructure project in Wales for a generation and could bring significant benefits to the economy through increased high-quality employment and supply chain opportunities.”
Commercially sensitive negotiations with Hitachi will now commence.
This is an important next step for the project, although no decision has been taken to proceed, and successful conclusion of these negotiations will be subject to full Government, regulatory and other approvals, including value for money, due diligence and State Aid requirements.
A Government spokeswoman said: “It remains the Government’s objective that new nuclear projects – like other energy infrastructure – should be financed by the private sector.”