Hitachi seeks talks to slash shareholding in UK nuclear business. Chairman to ask British premier May to take direct stake in Horizon power unit. Hitachi will ask the U.K. government to take a direct stake in the company that is to build and operate a nuclear power plant in Wales which is now 100% owned by the Japanese industrial company. Hitachi expects the U.K. government will invite private British companies to participate and hopes to reduce its own stake to less than 50%. Hitachi has recently concluded that the risk of proceeding with the Anglesey project, at an estimated cost of more than 3 trillion yen ($27.5 billion), is too great to manage on its own as a private company. It plans to withdraw from the project if restructuring negotiations fall through. Such a move would have significant repercussions for nuclear power policy for both Britain and Japan. In response to Hitachi’s concerns, the British government earlier this month proposed that U.K. interests and Japanese public and private interests join with Hitachi to move Anglesey forward. The three sets of shareholders would each put 300 billion yen into the project, giving each a one-third stake. According to sources, the company and the Japanese government see it as too risky for Japanese interests to retain a majority shareholding and hope that British interests will acquire a controlling stake.
Nikkei Asian Review 29th April 2018 read more »
Japanese engineer Hitachi wants to sell more than half its stake in its Horizon Nuclear Power subsidiary, which is slated to build 5.4GW of installed capacity at UK sites in Anglesey and Gloucestershire. The Nikkei Asian Review reports that Hiroaki Nakanishi, the chairman of Hitachi, is to travel to the UK for talks with Prime Minister Theresa May. He hopes to sell at least 50% of his stake to British companies to participate and hopes to reduce its own stake to less than 50%. If no agreement can be found, Hitachi plans to withdraw from the schemes. The move follows an internal review by Hitachi into the cost of the Wylfa Newydd project. This found that its construction cost was likely to be $27.5bn, which was judged to be too much risk for Hitachi to manage on its own. If the UK state does take a holding in Wylfa, it will represent a retreat from the previous Labour government’s position that no public money would be spent on the UK’s third generation reactor building programme.
Global Construction Review 30th April 2018 read more »
In response to news reports that the Chairman of Hitachi will request the UK take a direct stake in the proposed new reactor at Wylfa, Anglesey, when he meets with Theresa May, Hannah Martin, Head of Energy at Greenpeace UK, said -“The market will not invest in new reactors, globally, and nuclear states are trying to minimise their own exposure to this failing industry. Apart from the UK, where for some inexplicable reason nuclear is still seen as a viable option. Unfortunately, when you’re the only customer, you can’t split the bill … now a reactor manufacturers insist on the UK taxpayer taking a stake in projects that no bank or hedge fund will touch. None of this economic pain is necessary, of course, there are now far cheaper low carbon options available, if only the government would stop looking back at the 20th century and imagining that it is the future.”
Greenpeace 1st May 2018 read more »
The Welsh government and National Grid are working together to explore the potential for a new Menai crossing to carry power cables as well as road traffic. National Grid is currently developing plans for a new 400,000 volt connection between the existing substation at Wylfa on the island of Anglesey and the existing electricity transmission network on the mainland in North Wales. Its North Wales Connection Project will also transmit power from the proposed Wylfa Newydd nuclear power station. The original plan was to put the power cables in a tunnel. However, the feasibility study is looking at potential for the North Wales Connection Project and the Welsh government’s proposed third crossing to team up, using the bridge to carry National Grid infrastructure across the Menai Strait.
Construction Index 1st May 2018 read more »