Hitachi Pulls Plug on U.K. Nuclear Plant
Japanese industrial giant Hitachi has followed through on previous warnings that it would abandon the £20 billion ($27.3 billion) Wylfa Newydd nuclear power plant in the U.K. by officially withdrawing its planning application.
Horizon Nuclear Power, the Hitachi-owned company which was overseeing development, wrote to the U.K.'s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to pull the application and explained that efforts to engage third parties to take on the project had come to nothing. It also blamed the government's existing funding programme for new nuclear power. Horizon had planned to use two of its ABWR reactors at the Wylfa site on the Isle of Anglesey in Wales which would have had a generating capacity of 2,700 megawatts (MW). The project was expected to kick off in mid-2019 and be commissioned in mid-2025. The company also had plans to build another nuclear plant, Oldbury II, in Oldbury-on-Severn in South Gloucestershire, England, with a minimum capacity of 2,700 MW.
"As you know Hitachi announced the suspension of the project in January 2019 and its intent to withdraw entirely in September 2020, wrote Horizon chief executive officer Duncan Hawthorne. "In light of this and in the absence of a new funding policy from HM Government, Hitachi Ltd has taken the decision to wind-up Horizon as an active development entity by 31 March 2021. As a result, we must now, regretfully, withdraw the application submitted on 1 June 2018 for the Wylfa Newydd DCO Project. The Wylfa Newydd site continues to benefit from a decade of major investment and development and is too important to the Net Zero agenda and the economic future of Anglesey and North Wales, for that progress to be wasted."
Industrial Info reported that Horizon was suspending operation in early 2019 and that the company was planning to withdraw completely last September. For additional information, see January 28, 2019, article - Hitachi-GE Suspends Two U.K. Nuclear Projects and September 23, 2020, article - Hitachi Drops $26 Billion U.K. Nuclear Power Project.
Industrial Info is tracking the U.K.'s only new-build nuclear power project at Hinkley Point C, which has suffered a number of setbacks and price hikes during construction. Last week, French developer EDF revised the schedule and costs for the project again. First power is now not expected until June 2026, not the end of 2025, and costs are expected to rise by roughly £500 million ($684 million) to £23 billion ($31.5 billion).
Stuart Crooks, managing director of Hinkley Point C, stated: "Despite being affected by the COVID-19 health crisis, Hinkley Point C has made significant progress in 2020 on site, in the design execution plans and on the manufacturing of equipment. In this context, a detailed review of schedule and cost has been performed to estimate the impact of the pandemic so far."
He added: "We've been able to keep working through COVID because our teams have gone to extraordinary lengths to keep the site and our community safe, with many measures put in place to prevent infection and to enable social distancing. So, in these very challenging circumstances, it's a considerable achievement that we hit 18 of our 20 milestones last year, with the last two not far behind. That is being done with fewer people on site and with considerable disruption among our suppliers."