The government has confirmed plans for consumers to begin paying for new nuclear reactors before they are built, and for taxpayers to pay a share of any cost overruns or construction delays. In a consultation document launched on Monday night, officials said the model is “essential” to attract private investors to back the UK’s new nuclear ambitions at a price that is affordable for bill payers. The public purse would also compensate nuclear investors if the project was scrapped. The new funding structure could be used to prop up EDF Energy’s £16bn plans for a new nuclear reactor at Sizewell B in Suffolk, which was left in doubt after fierce criticism of the costs surrounding the Hinkley Point C project in Somerset.
Guardian 23rd July 2019 read more »
Let’s face it: nuclear power is hideously dear and far from ideal. The government should be backing renewables, not tying itself to an expensive nuclear future. That bill-payers got stuffed in the deal that brought the Hinkley Point C project into existence is beyond dispute these days. Even government ministers barely quibble with the National Audit Office’s assessment that consumers will be paying through the nose for 35 years. Instead, the defence has tended to run along these lines: don’t worry, we’ve triggered a “resurgence” in the nuclear industry in the UK and the next reactors will be relative bargains. Now here’s the government’s latest effort to resurrect the show – “an innovative funding model”. Of course, it’s not really innovative. The “regulated asset base” (RAB) approach, which could be used at Sizewell B in Suffolk, and is intended to copy the design of Hinkley, is common in other parts of the utility world. Aside from exposing consumers to the cost of overruns, RAB in effect also requires them to provide financing at zero interest, a point made by the National Infrastructure Commission last year. Little wonder, then, that the juice should be cheaper than Hinkley’s – some of the costs will be hidden from view. The same NIC report said: “There is limited experience of using the RAB model for anything as complex and risky as nuclear.” Second, no financing model can disguise the core truth about nuclear – the technology is hideously expensive. Even after recognising the need to have secure “baseload” supplies, it recommended commissioning only one more nuclear plant, on top of Hinkley, before 2025. That remains a commonsense analysis. Renewables are winning the price race. Let us pray, then, that a love-in with RAB does not reignite ministerial fantasies about a “resurgence” in nuclear. We don’t want a resurgence. We want to build as few new reactors as possible.
Guardian 23rd July 2019 read more »
Energy consumers are being asked to share the cost of building new nuclear power plants, including any overrun costs. In a new document, the government outlined its new financing strategy for nuclear including Sizewell C, Suffolk. It said it has proved “challenging” to fund nuclear energy plants since the Hinckley Point build in Somerset. A new funding model would require all UK electricity customers to pay in advance through their bills. It also allows investors to receive returns before the projects have been completed.
BBC 23rd July 2019 read more »
The UK government has opened consultation on a proposed new funding model for constructing new nuclear power stations.
Construction Index 24th July 2019 read more »
World Nuclear News 23rd July 2019 read more »
Energy Voice 23rd July 2019 read more »
Reuters 23rd July 2019 read more »
FT 23rd July 2019 read more »
Copeland MP backs government consultation into nuclear power. Copeland MP Trudy Harrison is hopeful that a government consultation could pave the way for more discussions on Moorside. Mrs Harrison welcomed the Government’s further commitment to nuclear this week with news of a consultation launch into funding large-scale nuclear power stations and a proposed £18million investment into small modular reactors (SMR). Ministers are seeking views on how a proposed Nuclear Regulated Asset Base (RAB) model could be implemented to allow new nuclear to be built at low cost.
Carlisle News & Star 23rd July 2019 read more »
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has announced its plans to explore the use of regulated asset base (RAB) funding model for large nuclear power stations and carbon capture and storage projects (CCS).
IJ Global 23rd July 2019 read more »
A layman’s guide to the ‘Regulated Asset Base’ that will fund Sizewell C nuclear power plant.
Dave Toke’s Blog 23rd July 2019 read more »