ENERGY giant EDF is in talks with the Government over a potential raid on the public purse to underwrite the costs of building new nuclear reactors.

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The news comes after one of EDF’s major backers for its planned new Sizewell C reactor on the Suffolk coast, Centrica, pulled a promised £2bn from the project.

But the move is set to spark controversy after Prime Minister David Cameron vowed his Government would not subsidise any new nuclear projects from public funds.

But sources close to Government yesterday confirmed talks were at a “very early stage”. It is thought the main focus so far has been on EDF’s plans for a new reactor at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

But that focus is likely to shift to Sizewell - a project EDF remain confident about - if the initial talks prove successful.

The talks come as public support for nuclear power is apparently waning. A survey released yesterday by Ipsos Mori showed 20% of people were strongly against while 38% were undecided.

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey believes everything possible must be done to ensure the project goes ahead in Suffolk.

She said: “From what I can tell this is cash for shovel-ready projects announced last year - and the hope is it will help lower the remaining debt making it more attractive for lenders.

“If the stimulus is on the table I think EDF are quite right to go for it but it may not be available when it comes to Sizewell C.

“It is vital that these projects are successful for what they will bring to the area and beyond.”

But the chairman of Shutdown Sizewell Campaign, Charles Barnett, called the talks “highly suspicious”.

“The Government might have said publicly that they were not going to subsidise nuclear but they have always been desperate for this to work - so I am not surprised,” he said.

“Whatever happens it will be to the detriment of this country - if we have to pay up or not if Sizewell C is built the waste it will produce will have a huge impact. We need to look elsewhere - like renewable energy like off-shore windfarms are the future.”

Commenting on the apparent shift in the public’s views on nuclear Robert Knight, research director for Ipsos Mori, said: “The uncertainty surrounding the future of nuclear power in the UK is starting to take its toll on public support.

“It’s not that the public are actively opposing it; it’s more about confusion at the intentions of the industry and the Government.”

EDF refused to comment.

11 comments

  • So Coffey is all for it. Crikey. In that case re-name her Coffin. Funny that, when the wider public and her constituents in particluar seem considerably less keen. Does she think it will stimulate employment by creating jobs, oh sorry, meant bring lots of people to the area to work on construction. Not exactly the same thing, is it.

    Report this comment

    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Wednesday, February 13, 2013

  • Oh well, I was bound to get outed eventually ... I do have an alternative proposal but I fear it will be blocked by the moderator

    Report this comment

    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Friday, February 15, 2013

  • Moan, moan, moan. Whinge, whinge, whinge. With no viable alternative to EDF proposition. Are you Milliband in disguise??

    Report this comment

    becclesboy

    Thursday, February 14, 2013

  • I would think Sizewell B provides jobs to in excess of 500 permanent staff and long-term contractors, plus many others who have left the station to progress through the company or who have retired. They are good, long-term jobscareers. Sizewell B has also taken in hundreds of apprentices over the years - Sizewell C would do the same.

    Report this comment

    CitizenErased

    Wednesday, February 13, 2013

  • The articles regarding the nuclear stations constantly seem biased with an anti-nuclear viewpoint. Nuclear power is not a perfect solution to our energy requirements, but it currently is the best option we have for a base-load electricity supply. It has also provided our county with thousands of jobs, with the income from station workers filtering down to the local economy. Sizewell C would provide excellent, long term careers for hundreds of local people - as the recession has shown stable, long-term jobs are hard to come by these days. Also, anyone thinking wind power is the solution to our energy needs should take a look off the coast at Frinton and see all the motionless turbines. There needs to be a sensible energy mix.

    Report this comment

    CitizenErased

    Wednesday, February 13, 2013

  • So in summary we throw a load of public money at it, probably take on most of the risk, and EDF makes a fat profit. That is how these arrangements work usually. Coffey eyeing-up a future role on EDF board? Why exactly has she written to her constituents, asked for their views on the proposals, and promised to represent their responses to EDF, when she is so blatantly in favour almost to the point of desperation?

    Report this comment

    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Wednesday, February 13, 2013

  • Quite so. Billions to build, massive subsidies throughout its lifetime, and many more billions for the clear-up afterwards. A few hundred jobs created long-term whilst it is operational would be one of the most expensive job creation schemes imaginable.

    Report this comment

    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Thursday, February 14, 2013

  • and it was

    Report this comment

    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Friday, February 15, 2013

  • here goes anyway ... could we import electric from the Frenchies, to go with the imported gas from Russia and coal from :Poland, etc, etc. It's the least they should do now we are aiding and abetting their little West African foray. Wasn't it to stabilise Mali and repel the insurgency there, which will be exactly why they have rushed to secure a uranium mine in Niger. That will provide enough raw material to keep their power stations going for years, hence in return for our support in that venture DC should procure some free AC.

    Report this comment

    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Friday, February 15, 2013

  • what about the after costs? Sellafield has cost about £70 billion to decommission so far....

    Report this comment

    siouxie twig

    Thursday, February 14, 2013

  • what about the after costs? Sellafield has cost about £70 billion to decommission so far....

    Report this comment

    siouxie twig

    Thursday, February 14, 2013

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