Britain plans to legislate as soon as next month for a funding mechanism to spur the construction of new nuclear power plants to replace its aging fleet of reactors. The U.K. is likely to need low-carbon power from nuclear to meet its net-zero targets as well as help avert the kind of energy crisis that’s currently crippling the country. The nation’s existing reactors are scheduled to close by the end of the decade and building replacements has been a struggle, with two major projects shelved because of financing issues. The so-called regulated asset base, or RAB, model is a government-funded mechanism designed to encourage private-sector investment in a project, which is meant to dilute the construction costs shouldered by the taxpayer and developer. It’s the same plan that’s been used to fund airports and water companies.
Bloomberg 28th Sept 2021 read more »
Red-hot investment opportunities don’t come along every day. So how could anyone resist this one: owning a 20 per cent stake in Sizewell C, the nuclear reactor earmarked for a Suffolk flood plain? Apparently, the minority stake in a project 80 per cent-owned by France’s EDF is going to be sold to institutional investors or floated on the stock market — at least once China’s CGN has been booted off the scheme. Or that, anyway, is the latest ministerial fantasy peddled to the Financial Times after an exhausting few days of half-baked, pro-nuclear briefings. Forget for a second the political niceties of ousting China from the project. Yes, it’s hard not to object to the Hong Kong crackdown artists from Beijing being involved in Britain’s nuclear industry, not least potentially with their own Hualong One HPR1000 technology at Bradwell in Essex. But CGN is EDF’s one-third partner on the sole nuclear plant being built in the UK, the £23 billion Hinkley Point C. Do ministers really think they can kick CGN off Sizewell without any impact on that project? Or other forms of Chinese retaliation? That, though, can wait for another day. For now, it’s two other things that grate. First, the knee-jerk nature of it all — that the government’s response to a temporary spike in gas prices is a sudden conversion to big nuclear power. How does that work in a world of post-Fukushima safety standards? As the nukes keep proving, they take over a decade to build and are mainly famous for endless delays and exploding costs. All the time, too, new renewable technology is getting cheaper. The second issue? The myth that private investors are gagging to put their money in. If they were that keen on a minority stake in nuclear, they could have bought Centrica’s one-fifth holding in eight plants that it put on the block in February 2018, which it may now keep after failing to find a buyer. And, unlike Sizewell C, those ones are already built.
Times 30th Sept 2021 read more »
It seems China will have no part in the construction of new nuclear power stations in Britain. Several seemingly well-briefed stories in the Sunday newspapers last weekend indicated that China General Nuclear (CGN), which currently has a 20% stake in the new Sizewell C plant to be built in Suffolk, is to be removed from the project. This was followed today by an authoritative report in the Financial Times which suggested CGN’s stake in the new £20bn plant would be sold to institutional investors or even floated on the stock market. The FT said that, under the plans, the government would hold the stake until it could be sold on to institutional investors – but that an initial public offering was also being examined.
Sky News 29th Sept 2021 read more »
Institutional investors could be asked to buy a minority stake in a new £20bn nuclear power station under UK government plans to oust China’s CGN from the project, it was claimed today. According to the Financial Times, the government is closing in on a deal to force state-owned CGN to give up its 20% stake in the proposed Sizewell C plant in Suffolk. The report said talks were already under way with EDF, the French energy group that holds the remaining 80% stake in Sizewell.
Capital.com 29th sept 2021 read more »