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Hitachi looks certain to cancel its plans for a £16bn nuclear power station in Wales

Hitachi set to cancel plans for £16bn nuclear power station in Wales Guardian, Adam Vaughan @adamvaughan_uk-12 Jan 2019

Move by Japanese firm would be blow to UK plans to replace coal plants and ageing reactors  The Japanese conglomerate Hitachi looks certain to cancel its plans for a £16bn nuclear power station in Wales, leaving Britain’s ambitions for a nuclear renaissance in tatters.

An impasse in months-long talks between the company, London and Toyko on financing is expected to result in the flagship project being axed at a Hitachi board meeting next week, according to the Nikkei newspaper.

The company has spent nearly £2bn on the planned Wylfa power station on Anglesey, which would have powered around 5m homes.

Another Japanese giant, Toshiba, scrapped a nuclear plant in Cumbria just two months ago after failing to find a buyer for the ailing project.

Withdrawal by Hitachi would be a major blow to the UK’s plans to replace dirty coal and ageing reactors with new nuclear power plants, and heap pressure on ministers to consider other large-scale alternatives such as offshore windfarms.

It would also mark an end to Japan’s hopes of exporting its nuclear technology around the world.

Hitachi and the UK and Japanese governments have been negotiating over a guaranteed price of power from Wylfa and a potentially £5bn-plus UK public stake in the scheme.

Talks have proved “tricky to find a solution that works for all parties”, industry sources said.

Unions said the prospect of Wylfa being cancelled was extremely worrying and losing two projects in such a short period “should set alarm bells ringing” about the government’s commitment to nuclear………

an insider said: “There has been a serious rift in Hitachi, and the group that said this is too large and risky an investment of Japanese capital have won out. They pointed to the uncertainty created by Brexit to say this was another reason to pull the plug.” ……….

Nuclear critics said a collapse of the scheme was not a disaster but an opportunity for a policy shift. Doug Parr, the chief scientist of Greenpeace UK, said: “We could have locked ourselves into reliance on an obsolete, unaffordable technology, but we’ve been given the chance to think again and make a better decision.”

Sara Medi Jones, the acting secretary general of CND, said: “With offshore wind now cheaper than nuclear it’s clear there is a clean and workable alternative. We just need the political will to make it happen.”

Just one new nuclear power station, EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point C in Somerset, has been given the green light and begun construction. The French company and Chinese firm CGN both want to build more.


January 12, 2019 - Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK

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