U.K. Sees First Nuclear Applications Next Year, Minister Says

The U.K. expects to receive its first nuclear-planning applications next year so construction can begin on new atomic-power facilities no later than 2013, said Charles Hendry, the country’s minister of state for energy.

The British government is following reactor financing deals around the world to gauge the ability of companies to make a profit from nuclear-power investments, Hendry said in an interview today at the U.K. Embassy in Vienna. The International Atomic Energy Agency warned yesterday that international financial institutions have become reluctant to support nuclear- power projects.

The U.K. has ruled out subsidizing nuclear construction and is instead considering setting a minimum price for carbon. A so- called carbon floor is seen as a way to stabilize electricity prices, which would encourage construction of low-carbon energy technologies including offshore wind and nuclear power. Utilities may spend as much as 6 billion pounds ($9 billion) on each reactor in Britain, according to Hendry.

Companies investing in U.K. atomic reactors, such as Electricite de France SA and Centrica Plc, will need to pledge money for a nuclear-waste fund.

“We’re still discussing with industry what the exact price of that will be,” Hendry said. “We have to make sure there is no long-term, hidden subsidy” that will affect taxpayers.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Tirone in Vienna at jtirone@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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