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News Extra - UK agrees finance guarantee deal for Moorside nuclear project

17 December 2014

The UK Government  said in early December it had agreed to provide a financial guarantee to help fund the development of Europe's largest nuclear power project, in northwest England. The 3.4-gigawatt Moorside project, a joint venture between Japan's Toshiba and France's GDF Suez, could provide nearly 7% of Britain's projected electricity needs and create up to 21,000 jobs, the companies say. 

Stock image
Stock image

It will be built adjacent to the Sellafield site in West Cumbria.

"The Guarantee Scheme is another way in which we can help companies to make the huge investment that building new nuclear power involves," UK Chancellor George Osborne said in a statement.

The scheme, which was introduced in 2012, is set to help the Moorside developers gain external project finance to cover the upfront costs of building a nuclear plant. NuGen, the name of the Toshiba/GDF Suez joint venture, welcomed the agreement and said it plans to make a final investment decision for the project in 2018.

The Moorside plant will be powered by three nuclear reactors by the end of 2026 to be provided by Toshiba's Westinghouse unit, with the first reactor expected to start operating by the end of 2024.

Keith Parker, chief executive of the UK's Nuclear Industry Association, said: "Today's announcement is excellent news and shows there is now unstoppable momentum behind the UK's nuclear new build program. The Guarantee Scheme designed to accelerate private sector investment is a crucial component of this project, and further reinforces nuclear as the lead technology in the UK's low carbon energy revolution."

A similar agreement was signed a year ago between HM Treasury and both Hitachi and Horizon Nuclear Power to promote financing for their proposed Wylfa Newydd nuclear power plant in Wales.

The government is already providing loan guarantees to France's EDF for a new £16 billion nuclear plant due to be built in Somerset.

EDF insists the Hinkley Point C project is still on track, but some 

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