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Who will put up the cash for Wylfa nuclear power project?

Another month in UK’s failing new nuclear programme nuClear News No.94 April 2017 Who will put up the cash for Wylfa? Hitachi Ltd, the owner of Horizon nuclear, which is proposing to build two Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWRs) with a total capacity of 2.7MW at Wylfa on Anglesey, is set to lose tens of billions of yen this financial year after withdrawing from a uranium enrichment joint venture in the US.

Hitachi is expected to report a 70 billion yen ($620 million) non-operating loss by the time books were closed at the end of March. The deficit is largely attributed to the joint venture GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy Inc. withdrawing from the uranium enrichment project. Hitachi no longer expects any profits from the North Carolina-based company, of which it owns 40% and the rest by General Electric. Hitachi and GE were expecting more nuclear power plants to be built when they launched the joint fuel enrichment business, but orders have been sluggish across the globe, forcing the project to be shelved. Nevertheless, Hitachi says it will be sticking with its nuclear power business and plans to proceed with its project to build Wylfa by ensuring costs are thoroughly managed. (22)

The chief executive of Horizon Nuclear, Duncan Hawthorne, says funding is the key issue to ensure the nuclear plant gets built. Wylfa Newydd would be the “showcase plant” for Horizon and Hitachi and important for the UK and Japanese Governments, which means there is huge resolve to get the project done successfully. But without the private investment and Government support the £14bn project would not happen. He said the deal that was struck for Hinkley Point would not work for Wylfa Newydd due to the fact they are private investors. Hinkley is supported by state backed Chinese and French enterprises. Hitachi are funding the project to the ‘Final Investment Decision’, with around £2.5bn of cash. He said he was very aware of the need to keep the Anglesey community behind the project, showing them what benefits the scheme could bring: “Without community support we can’t do anything.” (23)

Meanwhile Horizon has taken another major step towards delivering The Wylfa Newydd power station with the submission of its application for a nuclear site licence. A site licence is one of the main permissions Horizon will need as it looks to build and operate two ABWRs on Anglesey. Receipt of the application by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) now triggers a rigorous 19-month programme of assessment and intervention to establish whether Horizon can demonstrate it will be in control of all safety related activities on its site. (24) http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/nuclearnews/NuClearNewsNo94.pdf

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April 8, 2017 - Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK

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