The new nuclear plant being planned in Anglesey will be “considerably cheaper” than Hinkley if it is developed, the project’s director has said.
Leon Flexman, corporate affairs director at Hitachi-backed Horizon Nuclear Power, told a fringe session at the Labour party conference that cost reductions in the Wylfa project are having a knock-on impact on the strike price, the guaranteed floor for the sum it will be paid for generating electricity.
“The strike price is going in the right direction,” he said at the meeting which was organised by the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA).
“It will be considerably cheaper than Hinkley because of the two elements make up the price of power station: what it costs to build and the cost of capital.”
He said that nuclear, like renewable energy, would see a similar reduction in construction costs as more plants are developed.
In addition, Flexman said, Horizon is negotiating with the government to reduce the cost of financing the project.
Shadow environment secretary Sue Hayman agreed with Flexman that further cost reductions could be achieved by the nuclear industry.
Hayman, who also chairs the all party parliamentary nuclear group, said: “I believe that nuclear power stations will be cheaper.”
The meeting also heard a reassurance by Hayman that nuclear remains an important element in Labour’s plans to decarbonise the UK’s energy mix.
Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey did not mention nuclear in her conference platform speech outlining how Labour will meet its target to increase the share of the UK’s energy needs that comes from renewable sources to 60 per cent by 2030.
But Hayman said the shadow cabinet had “specifically talked” about nuclear when approving the environment policy paper, published last weekend, which reaffirms the 60 per cent target.
“The Labour party sees the importance of nuclear helping to meet climate change targets.”
Bill Esterson, a junior minister in Long-Bailey’s business and energy team, also told the meeting that Labour is “committed to nuclear”.
“Nuclear has a phenomenal part to play in meeting that ‘net zero’ target as part of that low carbon mix.”
Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the NIA, said that to get “anywhere near meeting” the targets in the Paris climate change agreement, “all of the available low carbon sources” of energy will have to be used, including nuclear.