Wylfa and Olbury on hold as Hitachi suspends all UK nuclear work

Failure to secure more financing from the UK government today led Japanese conglomerate Hitachi to suspend all work on UK nuclear power schemes: the £20bn Horizon station at Wylfa Newydd in Wales, and Oldbury in South Gloucestershire.

Four hundred jobs will be lost as a result of the decision, reports Construction Manager, and an estimated 9,000 jobs will now not be created by the Wylfa project.

The Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) said the news was a "serious blow" to the UK’s future energy security.

Wales’ Anglesey County Council expressed "profound disappointment and concern" over Wylfa Newydd, and pledged to press the UK government for a resolution to the impasse.

Announcing the decision today, Duncan Hawthorne, CEO of Horizon Nuclear Power, a subsidiary of Hitachi, said: "We have made very strong progress on all aspects of the project’s development, including the UK design of our tried and tested reactor, supply chain development and especially the building of a very capable organisation of talented and committed people.

"We have been in close discussions with the UK government, in cooperation with the government of Japan, on the financing and associated commercial arrangements for our project for some years now. I am very sorry to say that despite the best efforts of everyone involved we’ve not been able to reach an agreement to the satisfaction of all concerned.

"As a result we will be suspending the development of the Wylfa Newydd project, as well as work related to Oldbury, until a solution can be found. In the meantime we will take steps to reduce our presence but keep the option to resume development in future."

CECA director of external affairs Marie-Claude Hemming said: "This is an extremely disappointing decision that throws doubts on the future energy security of the UK.

"New nuclear power remains the best way of ensuring a secure future supply of low-carbon base load energy that is not reliant on external factors such as the weather.

"Once completed, Wylfa Newydd will create up to 850 permanent jobs, stay online for sixty years, and offer employment to future generations of skilled workers. Its cancellation would be a serious blow to hopes for regeneration to the economy not only of Wales, but the whole UK.

"We call on the UK government to act quickly to provide certainty, demonstrate its commitment to the nuclear sector, and to engage with both industry and potential investors to ensure the scheme goes ahead."

Image: Horizon Nuclear Power’s rendering of the Wylfa site 

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  1. Good hope that happens with them all

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