End of plans for new nuclear power station

Alan Jones, PA Industrial Correspondent
·2-min read

The nuclear industry has expressed disappointment after developers behind a planned new multi-billion pound nuclear power station officially pulled the plug on the project.

Horizon Nuclear Power has withdrawn its application for a development consent order (DCO) at the Wylfa Newydd site on Anglesey in north Wales after Japanese backer Hitachi announced last September that it was pulling out of the scheme.

Duncan Hawthorne, Horizon’s chief executive officer, said in a letter to the Planning Inspectorate: “As you know Hitachi announced the suspension of the project in January 2019 and its intent to withdraw entirely in September 2020.

“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 March 31 2021.

“As a result, we must now, regretfully, withdraw the application submitted on June 1 2018 for the Wylfa Newydd DCO Project.”

Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, said: “Today’s announcement is disappointing news which underscores the clear need for a new financing model and clear pathway to progress nuclear projects.

“New nuclear power is essential to the Prime Minister’s 10-Point Plan and the net zero vision set out in the energy white paper.

“Wylfa is one of the best sites in Europe to make that vision a reality.

“The community and stakeholders on Ynys Mon (Anglesey) have consistently supported a project which would create thousands of jobs and produce enough clean power for all of Wales.

“We call on the UK Government and Welsh Government to work together as a matter of urgency to identify a way forward for zero carbon nuclear development on the site.

“We cannot afford to squander the opportunities for future generations that Wylfa provides, or forfeit its enormous contribution to net zero.

“Nuclear power has saved more carbon that any other source in the UK, and created skilled, stable and long term employment across the country.

“That is an important part of the blueprint for a green recovery, and the UK’s civil nuclear industry stands ready to work with government to get it done.”

Mike Payne of the GMB union said: “It’s clear that the writing has been on the wall for Wylfa since Hitachi pulled out in September, and UK Government dilly-dallying has meant nothing has been done to save this important project.

“With many of these older stations needing to go offline in the next few years, the UK Government is going to need to move with unprecedented speed to plug the gap.

“The only way that can be achieved is by major investment and infrastructure spending from the UK Government to develop new power stations. Otherwise we’ll be in a real battle to keep the lights on and meet our green commitments.”