Hitachi’s chairman has held crunch talks with chancellor Philip Hammond as the Japanese industrial giant tries to strike a deal to build a £10bn nuclear plant in Wales. Hiroaki Nakanishi is understood to have met Hammond late last month in London, where he also raised concerns about its new train assembly plant in the north east, amid the slump in sterling and looming exit from the European Union The TVs to train maker has long been trying to secure a deal with ministers for its Horizon project on Anglesey in north Wales, where it wants to build a 2.7-gigawatt, twin-reactor plant capable of powering about 5m homes. A deal hinges on gaining support from both the British and Japanese governments. That could see Whitehall sign up to taking an equity stake of about 25% in the plant, although that has been delayed by Treasury fears about inflating the government’s debt pile. Horizon’s boss Duncan Hawthorne last week told The Times it would not keep “throwing a bottomless pit of cash at a project without some certainty it can get to a successful conclusion”. Hitachi is under pressure to strike a deal in the UK after fellow Japanese industrial giant Toshiba’s nuclear dreams were dashed by scandals including huge cost-overruns on projects in America. Last week Toshiba confirmed the sale of its NuGen project in Cumbria to Korean rival Kepco, as it beats a retreat from the nuclear industry. Hitachi wants to install its advanced boiling water reactors in Anglesey, and at Oldbury in Gloucestershire. The reactor is in the final stages of being assessed by the nuclear regulator, and could be approved within days.
Sunday Times 10th Dec 2017 read more »