Japan to the rescue of new nuclear

Laura Kuenssberg

Former Business Editor

Sellafield Nuclear plant in Seascale, Cumbria Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

After months of fraught negotiations, ministers this morning are able to announce that a buyer has been found to come to the rescue of one of the new nuclear bids.

Hitachi, the Japanese company, have announced they hope to buy the 'Horizon' project, that was put up for sale by the German group RWE earlier this year, which should mean building two new power stations, in Wales and Gloucestershire potentially creating 12,000 jobs. Crucially the sites already have approval.

Ministers and the nuclear industry will delightedly hold a grand press conference in London this morning but one very big question is not yet answered. The government is yet to reveal the price they will guarantee - essentially the amount of subsidy new nuclear will receive. The coalition is desperate for this not to be described as subsidy, the mechanism is to be known as 'contracts for difference'. But the government will essentially guarantee a minimum price under these complicated contracts, a subsidy by another name.