Ministers back plan

Pension funds back plan for nuclear power plant

Hinkley nuclear power station

A second nuclear plant is being build close to Hinkley (above)

A number of UK pension funds have expressed interest in building another nuclear power plant amid new reports that US firms are keen to revive a project in North Wales.

Several UK-based pension funds have expressed interest in the Wylfa nuclear plant in Wales, according to a prospective developer of the site.

Seven months ago, contractor Horizon Nuclear Power officially withdrew its application to build a facility at Wylfa Newydd in Angelesey.

Simon Forster, director of UK clean energy Shearwater, which is interested in taking on the project, told MPs yesterday he was in contact with a “group of pension funds who are very keen to invest” in the project.

Shearwater was one of two prospective developers that appeared in front of the committee, alongside a joint proposal by US companies Bechtel and Westinghouse to build a new nuclear power plant in north Wales.

US nuclear power company Westinghouse wants to build one of its AP1000 reactor, six of which are either under under construction or operational, with JV partner Bechtel. Westinghouse director for government affairs Lindsay Roche said taxpayer contribution for its project would be “tens of millions of pounds”, with the rest coming from the private sector.

Japanese company Hitachi, which owned Horizon before it was wound up this year, suspended the development project in 2019 after being offered a strike price – the guaranteed payment for the electricity generated – considerably lower than that agreed for Hinkley Point C.

UK government ministers are said to be keen to build another large-scale nuclear power plant in the UK to help ease pressures on energy supplies and help the country achieve its net zero targets.

If the plans were to go ahead at Wylfa, the new plant would be able to generate enough electricity to power more than six million homes from the mid-2030s.

It would be in addition to a second nuclear plant at Hinkley Point, Somerset, which is under construction, and a proposal for a new reactor at Sizewell, Suffolk, that is at an advanced stage of planning.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is said to be having reservations that by the early-2030s there will not be enough nuclear power to phase out gas power.

He is understood to be backing plans to build a new plant in Anglesey, and is lobbying the Treasury to seek private investment.

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