The government will set out plans to resuscitate the UK’s struggling nuclear ambitions with a new scheme which would leave taxpayers liable for rising costs or delays. The funding model, expected this week, could help bankroll the multibillion pound plans for a follow-on to EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point C project in Somerset, which ministers aim to build at the Sizewell site in Suffolk. It could also resurrect the dormant plans for a £16bn new nuclear reactor at the Wylfa project in North Wales, which fell apart last year due to the high costs of nuclear construction. Government officials are expected to reveal a new financial framework based on the model being used to finance the £4.2bn Thames Tideway tunnel. Under those plans, the government has allowed the super-sewer’s developers to charge customers upfront for the project, and agreed to cover cost overruns above 30% of the budget and step in as a lender if funding dries up. The nuclear plans are expected to be unveiled before parliament’s summer recess at the end of this week, alongside a long-awaited energy white paper. The policy roadmap will set out the government’s plans for the energy sector as the economy moves towards the UK’s target to reduce emissions to net zero by 2050. The industry is expected to have three months to respond to an official consultation before ministers decide whether to move ahead with the scheme. Senior nuclear industry sources have told government officials and investors that the proposed finance framework, known as a regulated asset base (RAB) model, could lead to lower costs for consumers.
Guardian 14th July 2019 read more »