Nuclear developers press for ‘prompt’ decision on new UK plants. Reactors could more than halve price of power generation if funding model is right.
FT 23rd June 2020 read more »
Britain’s nuclear energy industry has said it could cut the price of power from new large power stations by more than half as it presses ministers for a “prompt” decision on government financing to support construction. A report from the Nuclear Industry Association claims that the next generation of plants could be delivered at a cost to the consumer of £60 per megawatt hour, and subsequent reactors for as little as £40/MWh, if the government can agree a financing mechanism to cut capital costs, which account for about two-thirds of the total bill. A cost of £40/MWh would represent a 57 per cent reduction on the £92.50/MWh that was controversially guaranteed by the government to French utility EDF and Chinese state-owned CGN in exchange for shouldering the upfront costs of Hinkley Point C, Britain’s first new nuclear power plant in a generation, currently under construction in Somerset. The NIA argues that supply chain costs would fall further if it can build further scale and experience. But it warns that new projects rely on “prompt decisions” by ministers on an alternative financing mechanism to support nuclear plant construction. Executives at EDF have made clear they will not replicate the model used for Hinkley, which has been beset by cost overruns. A government consultation on alternative funding models, launched last year, is yet to report back. The NIA report comes as UK planning authorities are due on Wednesday to rule whether to accept a planning application for Sizewell C, proposed for Suffolk on England’s east coast. The project, also being developed by EDF and CGN, has magnified concerns among Conservative MPs about Chinese involvement in critical infrastructure. Both Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C use French technology, while CGN is a financing partner. But CGN is hoping to install its own reactors in another proposed plant at Bradwell-on-Sea in Essex. EDF and CGN submitted the application for Sizewell C in May without knowing how the plant would be funded. The government last year launched a consultation on funding future nuclear plants through a regulated asset base (RAB) model, used for other infrastructure projects such as London’s Thames Tideway “super sewer”. Doug Parr, chief scientist for Greenpeace UK, said Britain had renewable energy technologies, “which are faster and cheaper to deliver [and] . . . leave no toxic legacy”.
Super155 23rd June 2020 read more »
Nuclear power remains the only proven available source of reliable low carbon energy, delivering large volumes of electricity with the same lifecycle carbon emissions as offshore wind. Nations and regions such as France, Ontario and Sweden which have successfully decarbonised have done so with a planned combination of renewables and nuclear power. Nuclear also represents a multi-billion-pound economic stimulus opportunity as the country looks to rebound from the impact of COVID-19 and establish strong and enduring global trading relationships. By acting now, we can secure major domestic investment, maximise export potential and lock in a pipeline of engineering innovation which will deliver high quality, inspiring jobs for future generations, in every nation and region of the United Kingdom.
Nuclear Industry Association 23rd June 2020 read more »