The business secretary Greg Clark held a crunch meeting with Hitachi in Tokyo last week over its planned £15bn Welsh nuclear power station, as a rival Japanese project collapsed. Toshiba killed off its NuGen power station plan in Cumbria last week after the ailing industrial giant struggled to find a buyer – denting Britain and Japan’s nuclear ambitions. Toshiba’s exit leaves Britain’s nuclear power renaissance reliant on France’s EDF and Japan’s Hitachi. Clark is understood to have attended a dinner with the Hitachi chairman Hiroaki Nakanishi during a visit to Japan, where they discussed sealing a deal on Hitachi’s Horizon power station on Anglesey by Easter. The British and Japanese governments are expected to take equal equity stakes in Horizon alongside Hitachi. Whitehall is also expected to provide all the debt for the 2.7 gigawatt project, which would be sold once it has started generating power. Clark agreed to help bankroll the Horizon project in June, marking a departure from previous policy. Ministers want Horizon and Hinkley to replace a string of ageing coal and nuclear power plants that are due to close over the next decade. Under pressure from ministers, Hitachi is considering using a different form of financing – a regulated asset base – for future reactors on Anglesey and in Gloucestershire. However, that risks further controversy as it would mean households fund the project before it has been completed. Clark’s latest visit also reflects growing tension between Tokyo and London over Brexit.
Times 11th Nov 2018 read more »