The UK's stuttering nuclear renaissance received a huge boost on Tuesday when Japanese engineering giant Hitachi took over plans to build two power plants in a £700 million deal which will create thousands of jobs.
ITV News' Business Editor Laura Kuenssberg reports:
The Energy Secretary Edward Davey has defended the 'contracts for difference' telling ITV News Business Editor Laura Kuenssberg that it is not a subsidy by another name.
There are questions over a minimum price guarantee having to be underwritten by the tax-payer and acting as a subsidy.
Friends of the Earth Cymru have spoken out against the announcement that Japanese company, Hitachi, will be building a nuclear power plant on Anglesey.
– GARETH CLUBB, DIRECTOR OF FRIENDS OF THE EARTH CYMRU
This is turning back the clock for Wales. Nuclear power is an expensive technology from the past that generates highly toxic nuclear waste that will be sitting around in Anglesey for the next 150 years.
Wales' First Minister Carwyn Jones has insisted that new nuclear plants on Anglesey would be good for the Welsh economy, while Welsh Secretary David Jones called the deal a "huge boost" for the principality.
– CARWYN JONES AM, FIRST MINISTER
This is very good news for Wales and the UK. The potential benefits of a new nuclear development on Anglesey would be substantial - not just in creating thousands of highly skilled jobs and boosting the supply chain - but in helping to secure our energy supply in the future.
– David Jones, Welsh Secretary
When I was appointed Secretary of State, I made it clear that securing a future for nuclear generation at Wylfa was my number one ambition.
Today's announcement is terrific news for Anglesey and the whole of North Wales.I have visited Wylfa many times and know there is a wealth of nuclear expertise and eager young apprentices on Anglesey; they can now look forward to a secure future of well-paid, high quality employment.
Caroline Flint MP, Labour's Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary, said:
Nuclear power has a vital role to play as part of a more sustainable, balanced and low-carbon future energy mix, to make us less reliant on volatile fossil fuel prices, increase our energy security, and keep prices down for families.
Hitachi's decision to buy the Horizon Nuclear Project is welcome news for Britain's nuclear industry and underscores the importance that the Government’s electricity market reform should deliver a framework that will provide certainty and confidence for other potential investors. Ministers must ensure that Hitachi's decision to invest in the UK is used as an opportunity to encourage investment in nuclear research and design in the UK and to commit to supporting the UK domestic supply chain to ensure as many opportunities as possible are available to UK based businesses.
Energy Secretary Edward Davey insists that there will not be a direct subsidy of new nuclear, but cannot say the cost will not end up with the taxpayer or consumer.
He says that the Horizon deal with Hitachi is "a real vote of confidence from foreign company" in the UK.
Spades will be in the ground at Oldbury and Anglesey in 2016 or 2017 at the very earliest.
Greenpeace Energy Campaigner Leila Deen:
It speaks volumes about the UK’s struggling nuclear programme that the Government is promoting a reactor that's years from being granted UK safety approval and is designed by the company that helped build Fukushima.
Instead of waiting years to find out how much billpayers will end up subsidising this project, the Government should join Japan and Germany, abandon nuclear, and invest instead in clean, renewable energy.
Unite has welcomed the news that Japanese company Hitachi will take over the Horizon venture, Kevin Coyne from the union said:
This is good news for the UK nuclear industry, for jobs and for a low carbon future. There are massive job opportunities here in the UK and we urge Hitachi to maximise the UK supply chain.
At a time when Britain's economy is struggling to grow and good jobs are scarce it is hugely important that the players entering the UK energy sector ensure that all parties involved throughout in this project commit to good quality direct employment that benefits local communities, apprenticeships and skills - especially for young people.
After the announcement that Hitachi is buying the Horizon nuclear project, Corin Taylor, Senior Economic Adviser at the Institute of Directors, said:
Nuclear is one of the best ways to generate reliable low carbon electricity at scale, and the sale of Horizon gives the new nuclear programme a real boost.
Hitachi reactors are being built on time and on budget in Japan and there is no reason why we can’t expect the same in this country. The reactor approval process now needs to be undertaken swiftly and a realistic strike price set.
Energy Secretary Edward Davey said the announcement was "a vote of confidence" in the Government's energy policy.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme:
This will show that international investors looking at our energy policy have a huge amount of confidence in it.
This will provide energy for 14 million homes, it will provide huge jobs, and I think it will put the UK in a fantastic position for exporting nuclear expertise.
What has been pushing up people's energy bills in recent years has been the increasing price of global gas.
We are having to import far more gas now as the gas in the North Sea declines in volume. That is very expensive.
Part of our whole energy policy is to diversify - a more balanced approach - so we are not over-dependent on one fuel supply.