Hitachi scraps plans for Wylfa Newydd nuclear power plant due to ‘severe’ investment environment

Work on the £16 billion Horizon Project was suspended in January last year after Hitachi failed to reach an agreement to secure ‘reasonable returns’ as a private enterprise

Wylfa Newydd nuclear plant

Hitachi has scrapped plans to build the Wylfa Newydd nuclear power plant in the UK.

The cancelled Horizon Project was a proposal by Horizon Nuclear Power Limited, which Hitachi acquired in November 2012, to develop nuclear power stations comprising of two Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) units in Anglesey, North-West Wales.

Work on the £16 billion Horizon project, which would have provided around 6% of Britains electricity, was suspended in January last year after Hitachi failed to reach an agreement to secure ‘reasonable returns’ as a private enterprise.

The company attributes its decision to close the project for good to the investment environment, which it suggests has become ‘increasingly severe’ due to the impact of Covid-19, as well as the fact 20 months have passed since the suspension.

Hitachi notes it will coordinate with the UK Government and relevant organisations regarding its cooperation as the owner of the ABWR licence and the handling of the planned construction sites.

The decision is not expected to have a ‘significant’ impact on Hitachi’s business results as the company had already posted an impairment loss and other expenses of ¥294.6 billion (£2.1bn) on financial results for 2018, the year ending 31st March 2019, due to the suspension of the project.

Hitachi stated: “Hitachi expresses its deepest gratitude to the UK government, the Wales government and residents, the Japanese government and other stakeholders for their continued support and cooperation.

“Hitachi will continue to contribute to improve social, environmental and economic value and people’s quality of life through its Social Innovation Business, including the energy business.”

Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, commented: “Today’s announcement is disappointing news which nevertheless underscores the urgent need for progress on new nuclear projects in the UK if net zero carbon emissions is to become a reality.

“It is welcome news that Hitachi and Horizon will co-ordinate with the UK government and other relevant organisations over the handling of sites and possible future options. Wylfa is probably the best site in the UK for new nuclear capacity, and has strong community and stakeholders support on Ynys Mon.  It is imperative that a way forward is found for the site, to deliver thousands of jobs, hundreds of apprenticeships and millions of pounds of investment into an economic boost for the area while delivering secure, reliable and low carbon power to underpin the UK’s transition to net zero.

“The nuclear industry has a bright future in this country: investing in emissions-free, reliable and secure nuclear power will cut emissions and create the skilled, long-term jobs we need for a green recovery. No electricity generation source has saved as much carbon as nuclear power has, while generating skilled, stable and long term employment.

“The government can secure these economic and environmental opportunities for future generations by setting out a clear pathway for new nuclear power in forthcoming policy announcements.”

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