Hitachi ‘won’t pay’ for nuclear accidents at proposed Wylfa plant on Anglesey. Hitachi could seek to absolve itself of financial responsibility for any accidents at its proposed new nuclear power station in north Wales. The Japanese conglomerate has decided to continue with work developing the planned Wylfa plant on Anglesey after progress in financing talks with the government, which Hitachi is already relying on for a package of loan guarantees, subsidies and potential direct investment to make the project viable. However, the company wants further concessions to reduce its risks, the Japanese newspaper Nikkei reported. Reports in several Japanese media outlets have claimed that the Wylfa plant could cost as much as three trillion yen, or almost £21 billion — making it even more expensive than Hinkley Point C. EDF decided to build Hinkley Point only thanks to a 35-year subsidy contract from the government, which locks consumers into paying a fixed price for the power it generates and has been criticised for its high cost. The Nikkei reported that some of Hitachi’s directors also wanted “safeguards that reduce or eliminate Hitachi’s financial responsibility for accidents at the plant”. Nuclear operators are already obliged to take out insurance to cover their liabilities in case of an accident. If they are unable to secure insurance from the market, the government is obliged to step in and provide it instead. It is unclear what alternative arrangement or safeguards Hitachi might be seeking.
Times 30th May 2018 read more »
Hitachi has agreed to continue negotiations with the UK on a planned £20bn nuclear power station in Wales after the government in London expanded financial support to ease the Japanese group’s concerns about the project’s price tag. The Tokyo-based conglomerate’s board voted on 28 May 2018 to move ahead with talks. The vote means the board has accepted the principle of a tripartite investment structure under which Hitachi, the UK government and state-backed Japanese entities would become equal investment partners According to reports in Japan and the UK, the UK is proposing an equal equity split of about £6.5bn among Hitachi, the UK public-private consortium and a group of government-backed Japanese entities. Negotiations are said to be continuing on the make-up of the consortiums and other financial details. The Financial Times reported that another key factor is the strike price – the guaranteed level at which the plant sells electricity – which is still under discussion.
Nucnet 29th May 2018 read more »
According to Nikkei Asian Review this morning some of Hitachi’s outside directors remain concerned about the Wylfa project’s risks. In response, the company plans to insist on safeguards that reduce or eliminate Hitachi’s financial responsibility for accidents at the plant. More sweeteners from the UK government over the weekend reportedly included an offer to double the level of its previous guarantee on the loans required to fund construction, as well as a possible equity stake from a UK public private consortium. This would see the taxpayer liable for the cost of any delay or technical difficulties that the company encountered, which could run into billions of pounds. Japanese media reports the Development Bank of Japan (DBJ) balked at a government agency’s request to pump 75 billion yen ($688 million) into the project citing risk as a reason for its reluctance. Despite the UK government’s financial backing, the company is still reluctant to go ahead due to concerns over its financial risk. It is rumoured that if the power station is built, the government will guarantee a price for the electricity of £80 per mega watt hour, which is considerably more than offshore wind, even accounting for additional grid costs like back up power for when the wind doesn’t blow. Greenpeace UK has calculated that this single project would then add an average ‘nuclear tax’ of well over £3 per year to every household electricity bill compared to delivering the same amount of secure, low carbon power through offshore wind. Doug Parr, Greenpeace Chief Scientist said: “This deal is looking like a complete rip off for everyone in Britain. Taxpayers and bill payers will be shelling out for a nuclear tax if this power station is built because it’s so much more expensive than renewable energy, which is faster to build, cheaper and cleaner. It does not bode well if the company that owns and builds the nuclear technology doesn’t want to pay for building it, or own the consequences if there is an accident. It’s like buying a new car but the manufacturer saying the brakes might not work and you’ll have to compensate anyone you crash into. Greg Clark needs to come to his senses and realise that this is a terrible deal for everyone except Hitachi. Renewable power can deliver the electricity we need, it just needs a fraction of the political and financial backing that is being given to the nuclear industry.”
Greenpeace 29th May 2018 read more »
A government-affiliated financial institution balked at an agency’s request to pump 75 billion yen ($688 million) into Hitachi Ltd.’s nuclear power project in Britain, while the entire plan came under fire from citizen groups. The Agency for Natural Resources and Energy under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry asked the Development Bank of Japan (DBJ) for the investment to help finance a new nuclear power plant designed by Hitachi Ltd. on the island of Anglesey off northwest Wales. A DBJ executive expressed a willingness to invest but is reluctant to finance more than half of the requested amount, saying of the original figure, “The risk is big.” Under the plan, Hitachi subsidiary Horizon Nuclear Power Ltd. will be in charge of constructing two reactors for the new nuclear power plant. Hitachi plans to disperse the risk of loss and slash its investment ratio from the current 100 percent to less than 50 percent as preconditions for the start of construction. After the company held an extraordinary board meeting on May 28 to discuss the project, Toshiaki Higashihara, president and CEO of Hitachi, told reporters, “We have not decided anything yet.”
Asahi Shimbun 29th May 2018 read more »
Hitachi Ltd. decided on Monday to continue talks over a 3 trillion yen ($27.4 billion) nuclear power plant project in Wales after the British government made a financing offer, a source close to the matter said.
Mainichi 29th May 2018 read more »
NHK 29th May 2018 read more »