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Hitachi suspends £20bn Wylfa nuclear plant

Wylfa aerial cgi 3 by 2

Developer Hitachi has suspended work on the new nuclear plant at Wylfa Newydd, on Anglesey, North Wales.

Hitachi is managing the Wylfa project through its UK nuclear subsidiary Horizon Nuclear Power.

As well as Wylfa, it has put its entire UK nuclear development programme on hold.

Horizon Nuclear Power said in a statement: ”Horizon Nuclear Power has today announced that it will suspend its UK nuclear development programme, following a decision taken by its parent company Hitachi, Ltd. Horizon is developing the Wylfa Newydd nuclear plant on Anglesey in North Wales and has a second site at Oldbury on Severn in South Gloucestershire.” 

The decision comes after talks between prime ministers Theresa May and her Japanese opposite number Shinzo Abe last week, at which the Wylfa plant was described as being “strategically important”.  

Hitachi and Horizon had been in talks with London and Tokyo in an effort to secure additional government investment in the project it failed to win enough private investment.  

Wylfa’s suspension is a major blow for North Wales, as the plant’s construction and operation set to have added 9,000 jobs to the region.  

Fears for the project had been mounting since last week when it was annouced the board of Hitachi was meeting to discuss its involvement in UK nuclear

Horizon chief executive Duncan Hawthorne said that the project could restart if a solution is found: ”As a result we will be suspending the development of the Wylfa Newydd project, as well as work related to Oldbury, until a solution can be found. In the meantime we will take steps to reduce our presence but keep the option to resume development in future.”

“Clearly this will have a significant impact for all involved with our project. We will look to minimise this as much as possible as we move into this next phase and we will begin consultation on the implications immediately with our staff who have shown extraordinary talent, resilience and determination to take this complex and exciting project to this stage.

“Wylfa Newydd on Anglesey remains the best site for nuclear development in the UK and we remain committed to keeping channels of communication open with the government and our other key stakeholders regarding future options at both our sites.”

The Wylfa decision follows the failure of Toshiba’s NuGen in Cumbria last year. 

Last week, the engineer leading the project’s technical operations told New Civil Engineer he was confident the team could deliver on time and on budget thanks to a risk-free design.

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