Warnings that the Hinkley Point C could cost up to £2.9 billion more than first thought has put the spotlight on a new finance model that could be used to develop a nuclear large-scale power station at Moorside. Rob Johnston, chief executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, said: “Under RAB the risk is lower so the electricity should be cheaper. “It might get dearer if costs overrun but the Government believes the electricity will still cost less than under the contract-for-difference model used for Hinkley Point.” He added: “Whichever funding model is deployed, it’s vital that the Government acts quickly to plug the gap in our energy infrastructure. Given that existing nuclear power stations are coming to the end of their lives, and given the extra demand created by electric vehicles, National Grid is forecasting that generating capacity will have to increase substantially by 2050. “Nuclear new build is essential if we’re to keep the lights on.” The RAB consultation has, nuclear experts in the county believe, resurrected the potential for a large-scale development at Moorside, coupled with Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s pledge to support a new nuclear renaissance in the UK. But many believe the emergence of the model as the Government’s preferred way to support NuGen’s £15bn power station at Moorside, sacred off the investor in pole position to take on the project, Korean utility Kepco. NuGen’s plans collapsed in November 2018 after its owner Toshiba stripped Kepco of preferred bidder status in a last-ditch attempt to find a buyer. And alternative project has yet to materialise. Elsewhere the Wylfa Newydd and Oldbury developments in Anglesey and Gloucestershire respectively have both been mothballed due to wrangles between its developer – Hitachi – and the UK government on financial support for the two projects. Meanwhile, appetite for small modular reactors (SMRs) continues to grow, with Copeland MP Trudy Harrison and Copeland Borough Council recently vowing that they would be pushing for the technology to be deployed in the district, with Moorside an obvious location as a site already earmarked for nuclear development.
In Cumbria 25th Sept 2019 read more »