UK begins talks on new nuclear station in Wales

The UK government says it has started negotiations with Japanese firm Hitachi over the construction of a new nuclear power station on Anglesey.

Although no final agreement has been reached, Energy Secretary Greg Clark said that public money could also be invested into Wylfa Newydd which would be the first time in more than four decades that the Government has taken a direct stake in a nuclear power plant.

Plans for the site have been under discussion for several years. The original Wylfa plant on Anglesey closed in 2015 after more than 40 years in operation.

Its 2.9GW replacement, which would cost around £12bn, would have a 60-year operational life and would be run by Horizon Nuclear power which is a subsidiary of Hitachi.

There has been speculation that the plant could receive a ‘strike price’ of around £15 per megawatt hour less than the £92.50 awarded to EDF for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station being built in Somerset.

Negotiations over funding

Clark told the House of Commons that any direct investment in the project would be made alongside the Japanese government and Horizon.

He said: "This is an important next step for the project, although no decision has been taken yet to proceed with the project, and successful conclusion of these negotiations will be subject to full government, regulatory and other approvals, including but not limited to value for money, due diligence and state aid requirements.

"It remains the government's objective in the longer term that new nuclear projects - like other energy infrastructure - should be financed by the private sector."

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns said the project would be the "biggest infrastructure project in Wales for a generation".

Important step for diverse energy mix

Lawrence Slade, chief executive of Energy UK said:

“The Government’s support today for the nuclear industry is an important step in securing the diverse energy mix and skilled jobs the UK needs for the future.

“Low carbon energy sources are making a crucial contribution to meeting our climate change targets and, as costs fall, ensuring we produce energy at the lowest cost for consumers.”

> Read Greg Clark's statement