Hitachi, which owns Gloucester-based Horizon Nuclear Power, and the UK Government have decided to enter into negotiations in relation to the proposed Wylfa Newydd project based on Anglesey in North Wales. This is an important next step for the project, although no decision has been yet taken to proceed, and the successful conclusion of these negotiations will of course be subject to full Government, regulatory and other approvals, including but not limited to value for money, due diligence and State Aid requirements.
A key focus of ongoing discussions with Hitachi is achieving lower cost electricity for consumers. Both the National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee have recommended that the Government consider variations from the Hinkley Point C financing model in order to reduce costs to consumers.
For this project the Government will be considering direct investment alongside Hitachi, and the Japanese Government agencies and other parties.
Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said: “Nuclear has an important role to play in the UK’s energy future as we transition to the low carbon economy. However, we have always been clear that no technology will be pursued at any price: new nuclear must provide value for money for consumers and taxpayers.”
The Wylfa project developers Horizon Nuclear Power has developed proposals to build two reactors with a combined capacity of 2.9GW. Hitachi’s reactor design has been deployed on time and on budget in Japan, and last December completed the Generic Design Assessment process run by the UK’s independent nuclear regulator. Horizon submitted their application for Development Consent to the Planning Inspectorate on June 1.
Duncan Hawthorne, Chief Executive Officer at Horizon, said: “This announcement is fantastic news for Anglesey, the nuclear industry, and Horizon, as well as a clear signal of the Government’s commitment to delivering a low carbon future for the UK.”
“Building on last year’s regulatory acceptance of our tried and tested reactor technology, it shows real momentum behind the project which will bring huge benefits everywhere from Anglesey to Wales and the UK and Japan. Our focus now is to ensure we continue to deliver on our key project milestones as we move towards construction.”