The UK Government is considering investing billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money into a proposed new nuclear power station in North Wales.
The announcement marks a policy shift as the government starts formal negotiations with Horizon Nuclear Power, which is owned by Japanese firm Hitachi, for the Wylfa Newydd project with a total capacity of 2.9GW.
The plant is expected to generate enough electricity to power around five million homes and create up to 8,500 jobs during the construction phase.
Speaking at the House of Commons yesterday, Energy Secretary Greg Clark said any direct investment would be made alongside Hitachi and Japanese Government agencies.
He added: “This is an important next step for the project, although no decision has been yet taken to proceed and the successful conclusion of these negotiations will of course 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 and so alongside our discussions with developers, we will be reviewing the viability of a regulated asset base model as a sustainable funding model based on private finance for future projects beyond Wylfa.”
Mr Clark said future nuclear projects would deliver electricity at a lower cost than the Hinkley Point C plant in Somerset.
Horizon has submitted a 41,000-page document to the Planning Inspectorate specifying the nuclear power plant – expected to generate first electricity in the mid-2020s – and associated work the company wants to develop.