N-PLANT FI­NANCE BOOST

Gov­ern­ment mulling di­rect in­vest­ment in ma­jor lift for £15bn Wylfa Newydd chances

Bangor Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Owen Hughes

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.”

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