The UK Government has hailed the Horizon nuclear power project claiming it would help boost new investment and create thousands of jobs across the country.
Energy Minister Michael Fallon is set to meet executives from Hitachi and Horizon today, who are planning to invest £20 billion in new nuclear plants at Wylfa in Anflesey and Oldbury in Gloucestershire. He is also expected to meet businesses that will be bidding for supply chain contracts.
Last year, Japanese electronics giant Hitachi bought the Horizon project from German energy suppliers E.ON and npower for £696 million.
Hitachi expects the Horizon project to support up to 6,000 jobs directly during construction at each site and a further 1,000 permanent positions once operational. It would also provide enough clean energy to power 10 million homes over 60 years.
Speaking ahead of the visit, Mr Fallon said: “Nuclear in the UK is about more than just one project. Three ventures – including the Horizon project I’m visiting – are making serious progress. Momentum is building and when companies across the globe are thinking nuclear, I want them to think Britain.”
He added nuclear power is vital for the UK’s energy security now and in the future as it already provides around a fifth of the nation’s electricity.
The Energy Minister continued: “I want to be clear that we are firmly committed to ensuring that new nuclear goes ahead in this country. While new build is hugely important, UK nuclear is also about developing and exporting our world-leading decommissioning expertise and boosting the domestic supply-chain, creating new skilled jobs across the country.
“Our industrial strategy has set out a long- term plan and commitment to the UK’s nuclear industry, to foster exactly this sort of investment. By working in partnership with industry, we can give that confidence to invest, help build the supply chain and create high-skilled jobs here in Britain.”
Two UK brands Babock International and Rolls Royce will provide parts for the new reactors and Hitachi is believed to have said that around 60% of the value of their first nuclear plant is expected to be sourced locally.
A YouGov survey earlier this year found the British public favours nuclear power over renewables for the UK’s energy needs. Environmental groups, however, believe the Horizon project is a “risky and expensive gamble” for Hitachi and that new nuclear build would also lock consumers into higher energy bills.