A report revealing a proposed nuclear plant may be scrapped has raised concerns regarding the future of Britain’s nuclear programme. The proposed plant was originally intended to be built on the island of Anglesey in Wales by Japanese conglomerate Hitachi.
The new nuclear power station was to begin construction after the completion of the plant at Hinkley Point C. Now reports from Japan are indicating that the Wylfa Newydd project will be cancelled, despite Hitachi having invested £2 billion.
UK Nuclear Plans in Doubt
The UK has been planning on introducing several new nuclear plants to help meet carbon targets. The new power stations are meant to take over the country’s energy generation from older nuclear and coal plants. The Government remains hopeful that Hitachi will find the rest of the investment funds they need to continue the project.
They are even considering investing in the nuclear plant project themselves.
Government Investment a Change of Policy
Government investment in any nuclear plant would be a dramatic change of policy. Public money has not been used for such nuclear projects since the privatisation of forty years ago.
The Wylfa Newydd plant is estimated to cost in excess of £20 billion in total. Thus, investment with public money may be the Government’s only recourse to ensure its completion.
A spokesperson for Horizon, Hitachi’s British subsidiary, said, “Since the secretary of state’s statement to the House in June this year we’ve been in formal negotiations with the UK government regarding financing of the Wylfa Newydd project in a way that works both for investors and the UK electricity customer.”
It is understood that the Government are prepared to invest at least £5 billion of public money into the project.
Lower Cost Energy for Consumers
The Government’s Business Secretary, Greg Clark, spoke earlier in the year about the potential investment, saying, “For this project the Government will be considering direct investment alongside Hitachi and Japanese government agencies.”
Mr Clark added, “A key focus of discussions with Hitachi has been and will continue to be providing lower cost electricity for consumers.”
Nuclear Plants More Attractive to UK Government
The need for investment into new nuclear power stations is partly driven by the growing criticism of fracking. The negative effects on global warming have been highlighted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. There are also more immediate concerns regarding the effect on water supplies and other localised pollution.
Renewable energy is another option, though more investment into wind and solar farms would be needed too. Wind power in Scotland alone provided an extra 44% energy to the National Grid during the first quarter of 2018.
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