Japanese industrial giant Hitachi has confirmed that it is halting work at the £20bn Wylfa Newydd nuclear power station project on Anglesey.
In a statement issued today, Hitachi said that “despite the best efforts of everyone involved” it has been unable to reach agreement with the UK Government on creating a financial structure that would allow it to proceed.
The company said that “Hitachi has decided to suspend the project at this time from the viewpoint of its economic rationality as a private enterprise, as it is now clear that further time is needed to develop a financial structure for the Horizon project.”
The Civil Engineering Contractors Association described the cancellation as a “serious blow” to the UK’s future energy security. CECA’s director of external affairs, Marie-Claude Hemming said: “This is an extremely disappointing decision that throws doubts on the future energy security of the UK.
“CECA has long campaigned for new nuclear as a vital component of the mixed portfolio of electricity generation Britain will rely upon in the coming years. New nuclear power remains the best way of ensuring a secure future supply of low-carbon base load energy that is not reliant on external factors such as the weather. “
The building of Wylfa was to create up to 850 permanent jobs, with the station set to run for 60 years. Hitachi’s withdrawl follows that of fellow Japanese company Toshiba, which last year pulled back from the Moorside project in Cumbria.
Hemming concluded: “We call on the UK Government to act quickly to provide certainty, demonstrate its commitment to the nuclear sector, and to engage with both industry and potential investors to ensure the scheme goes ahead.”
The Nikkei Asian Review last week reported that Hitachi’s next board meeting would decide whether or not to put the project on hold, with the company still unable to agree funding terms with the UK Government and attract corporate investors in Japan.
Questions had been raised in December last year as to Hitachi’s commitment to the scheme. The Nikkei Asian Review said that Hitachi’s decision would mean the freezing of £2.17bn of assets held by its UK nuclear business, Horizon Nuclear Power.
The plant was originally scheduled to run from 2027. In August last year, Bechtel was named as project manager.