Contractor joins team on £20bn Wylfa nuclear plant

Global construction and engineering giant Bechtel has been appointed as project management contractor on the £20bn Wylfa Newydd nuclear plant on Anglesey, as the nuclear plant’s operator pledged to deliver the scheme for “cheaper than what has gone before”.

Bechtel will embed around 200 employees with Horizon Nuclear Power, the plant’s developer and operator, as part of the deal and will project manage the construction of the power station alongside Horizon.

Horizon, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Japanese giant Hitachi, has also secured further support from Hitachi Nuclear Energy Europe and JGC New Energy UK to back the project throughout its development stage.

The appointment of Bechtel will allow Horizon to push on with consultation and development of plans for the plant, where major earthworks are set to start in 2020 subject to consent.

Horizon submitted a development consent order at the beginning of June, and following a 28-day statutory review period by the Planning Inspectorate, this has now advanced to allow a consultation stage to begin.

The Government has also signalled its support for the project by entering into a period of negotiations with Horizon to back Wylfa.

Once built by 2027, Wylfa Newydd will provide 2.9GW of energy using two reactors, the design of which was approved by authorities in late 2017.

At its peak construction phase in 2023, the plant is expected to required 9,000 workers on site.

Duncan Hawthorne, chief executive of Horizon Nuclear Power, said: “These world-leading companies bring a wealth of nuclear, engineering and construction expertise to complement our growing organisation and will help us replicate the cost and schedule successes of the previous four ABWR reactors.

“The UK still needs reliable nuclear power to help transform our energy mix, and we are gearing up to deliver that. Our first power station will be cheaper than what has gone before and after that, with smart financing, supply chain learnings and no need for first time overheads, future project costs will fall further still.”

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By John Smith