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'If the deal is right for nuclear, it's right for tidal' says council leader

The Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon is better value for money than nuclear power and should be given the green light immediately, Swansea Council Leader Rob Stewart has said.

Tidal lagoon

New proposals by Tidal Lagoon Power mean that the project can be achieved on the same financial terms that the UK Government has agreed with the developers of a new nuclear power station in England.

The proposal reportedly already put to ministers seeks the same strike price that has been agreed for Hinkley Point and over the same time frame, although the lagoon has a much longer life span.

Cllr Stewart said: "It's simple. If it was the right deal for Hinkley, it's the right deal for the lagoon. If it's good enough for nuclear in England, surely it's got to be good enough for tidal in Wales?

"The issue has been one of waiting for a decision from the UK Government for some time.

"We have now got to the point where the Government can offer the same deal and the same terms that was offered to Hinkley for the new nuclear power station.

"That will allow the lagoon developers to sign with a strike price of £92.50. That allows everyone to unlock the lagoon and for work to get underway."

Cllr Stewart said Hinkley had a limited life span and the lagoon would provide clean, cheap, renewable energy for the next 120 years.

"It also has the potential to establish a world-leading industry with a predominately UK-based supply chain that could be worth tens of billions of pounds and create thousands of jobs," he added.

In an independent report into the viability of Swansea Tidal Lagoon, Charles Hendry said it was a "no regrets option".

The former energy minister said it could act as a pathfinder project paving the way for much larger lagoons that, like offshore windfarms, would see reducing costs as the technology became more established.

As well as having support from MPs and AMs across South Wales, there is also backing for the £1.3bn Swansea lagoon from MPs from all parties in England.

Earlier this month Bristol West MP Thangam Debbonaire visit Swansea to find out more about the project.

She met with Cllr Stewart and with representatives from the lagoon company.

The Labour MP said: "This new technology has the ability to produce power from a fully renewable source and one which the UK has in such abundance.

"We have massive potential in our marine energy to be captured, to fuel our future and reduce our carbon emissions."

Richard Graham, who is chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Marine Energy and Tidal Power, said the plummeting costs of offshore could be replicated by tidal power.

He said: "Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay plc has now proposed exactly the same terms for the pilot project at Swansea as the government accepted for Hinkley Point (35 years, CPI inflation etc), and with a 65 per cent British supply chain. It is no longer more expensive in the short term than nuclear, with huge potential for future efficiencies.

 "The Prime Minister has always felt there was something in this for our nation, and HM Treasury and BEIS must surely now seize the moment - precisely when many are looking for examples of a new post-Brexit industrial strategy."

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