Hitachi to continue Wylfa discussions

The Japanese industrial giant is still in the frame to build a £20bn nuclear power plant at Wylfa on Anglesey after an extraordinary board meeting yesterday resolved to seek an agreement with the UK Government on the project.

According to Japanese news website The Mainichi, although Hitachi and the UK remain at odds over the price of electricity to be produced at the plant, the business will not walk away from the project yet but intends to seek further dialogue at the top level, its chairman Hiroaki Nakanishi having met with Theresa May earlier this month.

Last week, industry body New Nuclear Watch Europe warned that the collapse of Wylfa talks could “probably spell the end of new nuclear in the UK”.

The plans to build a 3GW plant at Wylfa Newydd have been advanced by Horizon Nuclear Power, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hitachi and would represent the UK’s second start on a nuclear power project this century, following the Hinkley Point project in Somerset. At Hinkley, the government, notably then-Chancellor George Osborne, came under heavy fire over the deal with EDF, with critics saying the agreement leaves the UK taxpayer over-exposed.

With established nuclear markets said to be struggling, other UK projects are in the works, including schemes in Suffolk and Essex, while South Korean firm Kepco is taking forward plans at Moorside in Cumbria.

Horizon undertook its third formal consultation stage for Wylfa last year, with features stressed including streamlining of the project’s impact. It included shared facilities for the twin reactors, while construction workers requiring accommodation will be housed in a single temporary campus at the build site.

The total number of construction workers was outlined at a thousand fewer in number than once anticipated, reaching a peak of 9,000 “for a few months” in late 2023.

Horizon said that the number of off-site facilities would be combined, adding funding will be provided to support affordable housing around the power station in Amlwch, along with support for skills, STEM programmes in local schools and tourism programmes.

Elements from the stage two consultation that remained in place are improvements to the A5025, a park-and-ride facility at Dalar Hill, and a logistics facility at Parc Cybi on the edge of Holyhead.

In January, a further consultation was held regarding additional land required for the new sections of the A5025.

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