Hitachi has scrapped plans to build a nuclear power station in Wales, becoming the second firm in two months to abandon a major nuclear project and triggering “a full-blown crisis” for the UK energy’s strategy. The £16bn Wylfa plant on Anglesey was meant to be the next in a line of new nuclear plants behind Hinkley Point C but the Japanese conglomerate failed to reach a deal with the UK government. A Hitachi board meeting pulled the plug on mounting costs on Thursday, and the company said it would take a 300bn yen (£2.14bn) hit from axing Wylfa. The decision is a serious blow to the government’s energy policy and hopes of attracting major investments post-Brexit. Unions expressed dismay over the cancellation, which will involve around 300 job losses at Hitachi’s UK subsidiary, Horizon Nuclear Power, and around a thousand more in the supply chain. It will also mean thousands of anticipated construction jobs do not materialise. The death knell for Wylfa also spells doom for hopes of a second Hitachi plant at Oldbury in Gloucestershire. “The urgent need for further new nuclear capacity in the UK should not be underestimated, with all but one of the UK’s nuclear power plant due to come offline by 2030,” said Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association. Rebecca Long-Bailey, shadow business secretary, said: “Just two months ago, the government’s lack of clarity over funding for new nuclear led Toshiba to withdraw from Moorside. That was a blow to the UK’s energy security, its decarbonisation goals, and the economy of Cumbria. “But with Hitachi’s decision to withdraw from the Wylfa nuclear power plant, this triple blow has escalated into a full-blown crisis.”
Guardian 17th Jan 2019 read more »
If new nuclear plants do not materialise it will pose a challenge to tough carbon targets for 2030. It is unlikely to threaten energy supplies, given the speed with which gas plants and windfarms could be built. The main technology that has the scale to fill the nuclear gap is offshore wind power. More inshore windfarms and solar power would also help. The intermittent nature of those technologies could be addressed to a degree by more batteries and other storage, imports and technologies such as demand side reduction. That results in big energy users – and maybe one day homes – reducing their electricity consumption at peak times in return for a financial incentive.
Guardian 17th Jan 2019 read more »
Hitachi has said it will suspend work on a multi-billion-pound UK nuclear project because of rising costs. The decision puts thousands of jobs at risk if the £13bn plant at Wylfa Newydd in Anglesey, north Wales, is scrapped. The Japanese firm had been in talks with the UK government since June about funding for the project, which was being built by its Horizon subsidiary. The government said it had failed to agree terms with Hitachi. The nuclear industry said it was “disappointing”. Hitachi said it would also suspend work on another site, in Oldbury in Gloucestershire, “until a solution can be found”. About 9,000 workers had been expected to be involved in building the two nuclear reactors, which were due to be operational by the mid-2020s. Hitachi said the decision would cost it an estimated 300bn yen (£2.1bn) as “extraordinary losses”. It said it was suspending the project “from the viewpoint of its economic rationality as a private enterprise”.
BBC 17th Jan 2019 read more »
FT 17th Jan 2019 read more »
Thousands of jobs have been lost and Britain’s energy strategy put into disarray after plans for a new £20 billion nuclear power plant in North Wales were scrapped. The Japanese nuclear group Hitachi pulled out of the Anglesey project today after failing to reach an agreement with the UK government on subsidy levels. The government said the cancellation, which came just two months after another major nuclear proposal fell through, has prompted a rethink of how it will fill the country’s looming energy gap.
The i News 17th Jan 2019 read more »
The suspension of plans to create a new power station in Anglesey – which was set to create thousands of jobs – will “devastate the local economy”, a local MP has warned. Japanese firm Hitachi announced it will not continue with work already underway on the multi-billion project in Wylfa on Anglesey in North Wales, putting 400 current jobs at risk. The firm’s UK arm, Horizon Nuclear Power, said it was unable to find investors despite negotiations with the UK Government. Plans to freeze the project is a blow to the North Wales economy, with the plant expected to have provided 9,000 jobs at the height of i ts construction. Once up and running by the mid-2020s, it was set to create up to 850 permanent jobs, many of them high skilled. MPs and unions have criticised the Government for failing to secure the future of the project.
The i News 17th Jan 2019 read more »
Renewable UK’s Emma Pinchbeck said the Hitachi collapse “risks blowing a hole” in the UK’s climate change targets by forcing Britain to rely “more heavily on polluting gas and coal”. Instead the trade group has urged a resurgence in onshore wind turbines, which have halved in cost in recent years.
Telegraph 17th Jan 2019 read more »
Hitachi scraps Welsh power plant plans with 400 jobs lost.
Independent 17th Jan 2019 read more »
Anglesey Island, where the plant, called Wylfa Newydd, was to be built, will most likely feel the harshest impact. Llinos Medi, leader of the Anglesey Council, the local government authority on the island, said in a statement that she was concerned about the suspension’s “immediate impact on local men and women whose employment is at risk as a consequence of this suspension.” For Hitachi, though, the announcement could mark the end of a long and expensive saga. The company acquired the Horizon sites from two German utilities in 2012 for £697 million, or about $900 million, and wound up spending around £2 billion in total on design approvals, staff and other matters. It has been hiring apprentices, who have been training at a technical college on the island and going to Spain and Japan for work experience. At times in recent months more than 100 archaeologists were on the site, excavating and recording ancient structures that the construction would have destroyed. The dwindling number of companies willing to make the huge investments required to develop nuclear plants also reflects the falling costs of renewable energy sources, like solar and offshore wind. “The economics of the energy market have changed significantly in recent years,” Mr. Clark said, with the cost of renewables trending downward and those for nuclear plants rising. Antony Froggatt, a nuclear analyst at Chatham House, a research organization, noted that nuclear energy was costly and controversial, and that having a foreign company like Hitachi build a plant in Britain was unlikely to contribute to building a British industry.
New York Times 17th Jan 2019 read more »
The Hitachi Ltd. board decided Thursday to suspend a plan to build two nuclear reactors in the U.K. after facing difficulties in finding investors to help finance the ¥3 trillion ($27.5 billion) project. The freezing of the project in Anglesey in Wales would mean that all major overseas nuclear projects involving Japanese companies have seen setbacks amid the government’s efforts to promote exports of nuclear technology. Hitachi said it will book a special loss of ¥300 billion in the year ending in March, and cut its net profit outlook for the year to ¥100 billion from its previous forecast of ¥400 billion. “We’ve reached limits in further investing (in the British nuclear project),” Hitachi President Toshiaki Higashihara said at a news conference, noting that the Japanese conglomerate will focus on domestic business over nuclear power operations “in the years ahead.”
Japan Times 17th Jan 2019 read more »
Hitachi stopped short of scrapping the northern Wales project. The company will continue to discuss with the British government on nuclear power, it said. However, industry sources said hurdles to proceed with the project are high considering tighter safety regulations since a meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011 drove up costs. Analysts and investors viewed the suspension as an effective withdrawal and saw the decision as a positive step that has removed uncertainties for the Japanese conglomerate.
Asahi Shimbun 17th Jan 2019 read more »
Hitachi has announced it is suspending work at the Wylfa Newydd nuclear plant after failing to agree a funding arrangement for the scheme. In a statement issued through subsidiary Horizon Nuclear Power, the Japanese company said it is suspending work on the North Wales site, and at Oldbury on Severn in South Gloucestershire. Chief executive Duncan Hawthorne said: “We have been in close discussions with the UK government, in co-operation with the government of Japan, on the financing and associated commercial arrangements for our project for some years now. “I am very sorry to say that despite the best efforts of everyone involved we’ve not been able to reach an agreement to the satisfaction of all concerned.” He added that consultations will begin with staff on site as soon as possible and paid tribute to their “talent, resilience and determination”.
Construction News 17th Jan 2019 read more »
Close to 400 jobs will be lost following Hitachi’s decision to stop work on its Wylfa Newydd nuclear project.
Construction News 17th Jan 2019 read more »
Hitachi Announces Suspension of UK Nuclear Power Stations Construction Project and Posting of Impairment Loss and Related Expenses on Consolidated Basis, Posting of Extraordinary Loss on Unconsolidated Basis, and Revisions to Full-year Consolidated Business Forecast.
Hitachi 17th Jan 2019 read more »
Business and Energy Secretary’s statement on why the government was unable to reach an agreement with Hitachi over Wylfa nuclear plant that strikes a fair deal for billpayers and taxpayers. The economics of the energy market have changed significantly in recent years. The cost of renewable technologies such as offshore wind has fallen dramatically, to the point where they now require very little public subsidy and will soon require none. We have also seen a strengthening in the pipeline of projects coming forward, meaning that renewable energy may now not just be cheap, but also readily available. As a result of these developments over the last eight years we have a well-supplied electricity market. Our electricity margin forecast is currently over 11% for this winter – having grown for each of the last five years. Whilst this is good news for consumers as we strive to reduce carbon emissions at the lowest cost, this positive trend has not been true when it comes to new nuclear. Across the world, a combination of factors including tighter safety regulations, have seen the cost of most new nuclear projects increase, as the cost of alternatives has fallen and the cost of construction has risen. This has made the challenge of attracting private finance into projects more difficult than ever, with investors favouring other technologies that are less capital-intensive upfront, quicker to build, and less exposed to cost overruns. But as I made clear to the House in June, this government continues to believe that a diversity of energy sources is a good way and the best way of delivering secure supply at the lowest cost, and nuclear has an important role to play in our future energy mix. In my June Statement I therefore reaffirmed the government’s commitment to nuclear. I also announced that we would be entering into negotiations with Hitachi over their project at Wylfa. Given the financing challenges facing new nuclear projects, I made clear to the House in June that we would be considering a new approach to supporting Wylfa that included the potential for significant direct investment from the government. Mr. Speaker, while negotiations were ongoing, I am sure the House will understand that the details were commercially sensitive, but following Hitachi’s announcement I can set out in more candid terms the support that the government was willing to offer in support of the project. Firstly, the government was willing to consider taking a one third equity stake in the project, alongside investment from Hitachi and Government of Japan agencies and other strategic partners. Secondly, the government was willing to consider providing all of the required debt financing to complete construction. Thirdly, the government agreed to consider providing a Contract for Difference to the project with a strike price expected to be no more £75 per megawatt hour. I hope the House would agree that this is a significant and generous package of potential support that goes beyond what any government has been willing to consider in the past. Despite this potential investment, and strong support from the government of Japan, Hitachi have reached the view that the project still posed too great a commercial challenge, particularly given their desire to deconsolidate the project from their balance sheet and the likely level of return on their investment.
BEIS 17th Jan 2019 read more »
In response to comments made by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in the Commons regarding Hitachi, Wylfa, the increasing costs of nuclear and declining costs of alternatives, Dr Doug Parr, Chief Scientist for Greenpeace UK, said – “The government’s thinking seems to have finally caught up with reality. If the UK’s ageing energy policy is at last opened up to scrutiny, we must ensure that the main question is not how best to make the taxpayer cough up for new nuclear. There is little justification for spending our money on this outdated technology when even the government now acknowledges that renewables are cheaper, quicker to build and cleaner.”
Greenpeace 17th Jan 2019 read more »
The £13bn Wylfa Newydd nuclear power project will be delayed by “potentially a small number of years”, the Welsh secretary has said. Alun Cairns said he was “confident” the plant would still be built on the Anglesey site. Japanese tech giant Hitachi has said it is suspending construction as the project’s cost continues to spiral. Economy Secretary Ken Skates said it was “hugely important that the momentum of the work can be maintained”. Mr Cairns made the comments after Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clarke said the UK government was willing to consider taking a one-third equity stake in Wylfa. He said this showed the UK government’s commitment to the project. Horizon Nuclear, which is owned by Hitachi, has said work could restart when funding solutions were agreed. Mr Cairns said the project could still happen “without a question” and he was optimistic Hitachi would find a partner or partners to share the cost. He said the north Wales site was “amongst the most attractive sites” in Europe for a new nuclear build.
BBC 18th Jan 2019 read more »
Plans for a new generation of nuclear power stations are in disarray after a second company in two months announced that would stop work on the projects. Greg Clark, the business secretary, revealed that the government had offered to take a one-third equity stake in the £15 billion Wylfa plant, finance the borrowing needed to build it and give a guaranteed price of £75 per megawatt hour for its electricity, well above the rate needed by offshore wind farms. Hitachi had been seeking a better subsidy but Mr Clark said the costs of renewable energy had fallen so sharply that he could not justify more support. The government is developing a new method of financing new nuclear power stations and promised to publish proposals in the summer. Hitachi’s decision puts 370 jobs in Britain at risk. The GMB union said it left the country with “a looming energy crisis”. Justin Bowden, national secretary for energy at the GMB union, said: “Hitachi’s announcement, coming so soon after the Moorside fiasco, raises the very real prospect of a UK energy crisis. While the government has had its head up its proverbial backside over Brexit, vital matters like guaranteeing the country’s future energy supply appear to have gone by the wayside. Doug Parr, chief scientist for Greenpeace UK, said: “Renewable energy costs, especially offshore wind and solar, have plunged dramatically, while new smart technologies including storage have arrived on the scene. A clever move now would be for the government to accept that the nuclear bet didn’t pay off, stop holding back renewables and have an urgent rethink about the future of UK energy.”
Times 18th Jan 2019 read more »
Kathryn Owen has a simple question after news broke that construction of a new nuclear power station on Anglesey had stopped, possibly permanently. “Where are my kids supposed to work?” She had just picked up her three sons from primary school in the pretty seaside village of Cemaes Bay before a walk on the beach. Ms Owen, 30, who described herself as a “full-time mum”, has lived on the island off the north-west tip of Wales all her life and runs through its recent litany of economic woe. “There is nothing on the island for these kids,” she said. “We have lost the aluminium plant, and the old power station. With Brexit the port might go, too.” Some on the island are celebrating, People Against Wylfa B, a campaign group which opposes nuclear energy, said just as many jobs could be created with new offshore wind and solar installations. Lisa Sargeant, a pensioner in Cemaes Bay, said: “I think it is marvellous. We do not need nuclear power. Renewables are getting less expensive. We are surrounded by wind and water here. I think Wales could be a leader in renewable energy.” But Mr Llewellyn Jones said the Wylfa jobs were needed, too. Hitachi’s plans included a third bridge to the Welsh mainland. “This was our Brexit cushion,” he said. “With this and Brexit it’s like shooting yourself in both feet simultaneously.”
FT 17th Jan 2019 read more »
FOLLOWING the news that plans for a multi-billion pound nuclear plant on Anglesey has been suspended one island resident says her life has been “left in limbo.”
North Wales Chronicle 17th Jan 2019 read more »
Hitachi had invested £2bn in the scheme, which would have brought up to 10,000 jobs to north Wales. As well as the huge investment in the north Wales, the scheme was touted as bringing opportunities for young people to get highly skilled work. It had been said it would bring £5.7bn to the Welsh economy and Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns described the scheme as the “biggest infrastructure project in Wales for a generation”. Energy is not devolved and Hitachi had been in talks with the UK government since June last year about the price it would be paid for energy from Wylfa Newydd.
Wales Online 17th Jan 2019 read more »
Anti-nuclear groups say ‘not a penny more’ should be spent on ‘white elephant’ Wylfa Newydd. PAWB, Greenpeace, and Friends of the Earth Cymru say time to admit ‘nuclear bet’ has failed.
Daily Post 17th Jan 2019 read more »