October 2 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, October 3, 2013
The Government is within “weeks” of agreeing a contract to build Britain’s first new nuclear plant in a generation, according to the Financial Times.
The newspaper today quoted Energy Minister Michael Fallon as saying he was “working intensely” to close a deal with French energy giant EDF on pricing which would clear the way for work to start on a new twin reactor complex at Hinkley Point in Somerset.
An agreement over Hinkley Point, where EDF has already secured planning permission, would also represent a major step forward for the company’s project to build a similar plant at Sizewell C which was the subject of an initial consultation which ended earlier this year.
Talks between ministers and EDF stalled earlier this year after they could not agree on the so-called “strike price”, the guaranteed price at which electricity can be sold.
However, Mr Fallon told the FT: “We’re not quite there yet, but I hope we will be in the next few weeks.”
Mr Fallon suggested that a contract with EDF would send a strong signal about Britain’s long-term commitment to nuclear energy, and invite new investment opportunities.
He said that a number of East Asian investors, including South Korea, China and Japan, had already shown an interest in UK reactors.
“There’s intense interest there because people can see that finally we’re getting our civil nuclear programme moving again after the long dead Labour years,” said Mr Fallon.
China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group, which signed a co-operation agreement with EDF, could claim a 49% stake in the £14billion infrastructure project at Hinkley Point.
In his speech to the Conservative Party conference in Manchester this week, Chancellor George Osborne said: “Should we, the country that built the first civil nuclear power station, say: ‘We are never going to build any more − leave it to others’? Not on my watch.”