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Energy companies blame abandonment of nuclear plans on lack of cash via guardian.uk

Huge cost and decades-long payback times of new nuclear power make it difficult to fund during economic crisis, MPs told

Investing billions in new nuclear power stations would have forced a credit-rating downgrade on energy giant RWE, the company’s chief executive has revealed. The head of another big six energy company, E.ON, blamed the abandonment of its nuclear plans on a lack of “financial firepower”.Tuesday’s developments are the latest to demonstrate that the huge cost and decades-long payback times of new nuclear power stations are making them difficult to fund in the current economic crisis. RWE and E.ON cancelled their joint plan to build new reactors in March, while nuclear giant EDF has delayed work at its site at Hinkley and EDF’s nuclear partner Centrica says the case for nuclear investment is “unproven”.

Volker Beckers, CEO at RWE npower, was questioned on the company’s decision by MPs on the Commons select committee for energy and climate change. Persisting with the Horizon joint venture with E.ON was not an option, he said, adding: “It would have meant a downgrading, and we could not afford to do that.” The company had already suffered one downgrade and was reducing its capital requirements in response.

“Our decision was down to the financial firepower of the company,” said Tony Cocker, CEO of E.ON UK. “Nuclear is an extremely long-term investment.”

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