Hitachi walks away from Welsh nuclear project

By Mike Hayes06 October 2020


An impression of Wylfa Newydd nuclear plant on Anglesey, north Wales

Hitachi has withdrawn from a project to build a nuclear power plant in Anglesey, north Wales, after failing to secure necessary funding.

The move - announced in September - follows the Tokyo-based multinational’s decision to suspend work on the Wylfa Newydd power station in January last year, while it negotiated with the UK government over a financing structure.

Now, having so far written off over €2.3 billion in planning the plant’s construction, the company has decided to abandon the €22 billion project altogether, potentially ending the employment hopes of thousands of local people.

In a statement, Hitachi said the decision to remove itself from the project was made “given that 20 months have passed since the suspension, and the investment environment has become increasingly severe due to the impact of Covid-19.”

As well as the loss of potential employment, the move will have serious implications for the UK government’s aim to achieve net-zero-carbon status by 2050, as the plant would have provided approximately 6% of the nation’s electricity.

Justin Bowden, national secretary of the energy union GMB, said the UK government’s indecision over financing the plant had caused the abandonment of the project.

He said, “This utterly predictable announcement from Hitachi is the outcome of successive government failures to act decisively around new nuclear, and in particular how it is financed.”

He added, “New nuclear is vital in achieving decarbonisation – especially when teamed up with hydrogen.”

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