The Sunday Telegraph - Money & Business

Sizewell C proves to be a turn-off for City giant L&G

- By Rachel Millard

LEGAL and General has ruled out helping to fund the new Sizewell C nuclear power plant, dealing a blow to EDF as it seeks backers for the £20bn project.

EDF is in negotiatio­ns with the Government about taxpayer support for the planned plant in Suffolk but will also need institutio­nal investors, which it argues can make stable returns over the decades of a reactor’s life.

L&G has not spoken publicly about its plans, but in a written response to a pension-holder, one of its investment service consultant­s said: “I have had it confirmed that Legal and General will not be investing in the Sizewell C nuclear power plant.” L&G declined to comment further.

Aviva Investors expressed concerns about the potential ESG (environmen­tal, social and governance) risks of nuclear power. It said the ESG impact of nuclear was “far from clear at this time.” The Government is relying on nuclear power to help reach its legally binding target of cutting carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, but investors also need to get comfortabl­e with radioactiv­e waste management, water usage, and the remote but catastroph­ic risks of a nuclear accident. L&G, which has more than £1 trillion assets under management, has invested more than £1.3bn towards low-carbon energy sources such as solar panels and ground source heat pumps. EDF’S discussion­s over financing for Sizewell C come at a critical time for the UK’S nuclear sector. Most of the UK’S ageing reactors are set to come offline by 2030, but the only replacemen­t plant currently being built is Hinkley Point C in Somerset, by EDF and its Chinese partner CGN.

Critics argue large-scale nuclear power plants have had their day given the growing competitiv­eness of wind and solar power, and emerging technologi­es such as small-modular nuclear reactors. L&G’S boss Nigel Wilson reportedly described Hinkley in 2016 as a “£25bn waste of money”.

But backers insist large plants are a much-needed source of reliable, low carbon energy. Sizewell C has previously stressed the plant will deliver “vast amounts of very low carbon energy” with a small footprint compared to other sources of sustainabl­e energy. It adds nuclear is “one of the safest forms” of producing electricit­y, and the project will bring thousands of jobs.

Stop Sizewell C, which is campaignin­g against the proposed plant in Suffolk, said: “Nuclear gigawatt projects are categorica­lly not green […] they are expensive and slow to build. Compared to responsibl­y delivered renewable energy there is no contest.”

 ??  ?? EDF wants to add another nuclear power plant next door to Sizewell B in Suffolk
EDF wants to add another nuclear power plant next door to Sizewell B in Suffolk

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK