By Paul Homewood
I revealed last month that Hitachi’s plans for a new nuclear plant in Wales were on the rocks.
Now we have confirmation that the plug has been pulled:
Hitachi has scrapped plans to build a nuclear power station in Wales, becoming the second firm in two months to abandon a major nuclear project.
The £16bn Wylfa plant on Anglesey was meant to be the next in a line of new nuclear plants behind Hinkley Point C but the Japanese conglomerate has been unable to agree a deal with the UK government.
With costs mounting and nearly £2bn spent on the project, a Hitachi board meeting pulled the plug on Thursday. The decision is a serious blow to the government’s energy strategy and hopes of attracting major investments post-Brexit.
Unions expressed dismay over the cancellation, which will involve around 300 job losses at Hitachi’s UK subsidiary, Horizon, and mean thousands of construction jobs do not materialise.
The death knell for Wylfa also spells doom for hopes of a second Hitachi plant at Oldbury in Gloucestershire.
Duncan Hawthorne, CEO of Hitachi’s UK subsidiary, Horizon Nuclear Power, said that the company had been unable to reach a deal in talks with London and Tokyo.
“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.”
The collapse of the power stations and the Moorside project that Toshiba scrapped in November means the government has a huge hole to fill in the late 2020s and early 2030s.
Together the three power stations would have supplied 15% of electricity demand.
Questions will be raised over whether ministers should redouble their efforts to make the numbers work for nuclear, or pivot to a new strategy that hugely expands the build-out of renewables.
Along with Toshiba’s withdrawal from the UK nuclear market, and ongoing problems with EDF, the UK is now paying the price for pulling out of the business.
The £3bn windfall received when Gordon Brown sold Westinghouse in 2006 seems tiny now, compared to the problems we now face.
As for the Guardian’s suggestion that we pivot to a new strategy that hugely expands the build-out of renewables, would somebody please tell them the difference between dispatchable baseload power, and intermittent wind farms!
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January 17, 2019 at 05:43AM