17 April 2012

GDF‑Suez Questions Nuclear Investments in the UK

GDF-Suez Questions Nuclear Investments in the UK

“We are, with our partners, going to take a decision in 2015 [on building a new plant at Sellafield]. Today it is very difficult to invest in a nuclear power plant without clear visibility.” This declaration by Gérard Mestrallet, CEO of the French group GDF-Suez, published by The Guardian, is the second blow in a month for nuclear new build plans in the UK after E.ON and RWE announced to withdraw from their projects. The GDF-Suez boss clearly indicated that the support measures proposed, including a carbon floor price suggested by the UK government would be “not enough and something is missing”. Direct additional support is difficult for the coalition government that has vowed not to subsidize new nuclear projects and in conformity with EU State Aid rules.
GDF-Suez, together with the Spanish utility Iberdrola, set up the joint venture NuGen to build up 3,600 MW of new nuclear capacity in West Cumbria. The power plant named “Moorside” was to be operational by 2020.
There is concern that the last remaining investor for a British new build program, French utility EDF, might have to change its policy following the upcoming presidential elections in France. As The Guardian writes: “EDF may then reconsider building in Britain too. And then there were none …”