One nuclear power station only for the South West as Hitachi pulls out of Oldbury

Oldbury Nuclear Power location

Hitachi has announced that no longer intends to build the Oldbury on Severn and Wylfa nuclear power plants. Both construction projects were suspended in January 2019. Hitachi said it had made this decision given that 20 months have passed since the suspension, and the investment environment has become increasingly severe due to the impact of COVID-19.

As a result, Horizon Nuclear Power, which is based at Gloucester Business Park, will be ceasing its activities to develop projects at Wylfa Newydd on Anglesey and at Oldbury on Severn in South Gloucestershire.

Activity was suspended in January 2019 due to the absence of a clear funding package for the lead Wylfa Newydd project. Horizon maintained the capability to remobilise in the event that a new financing model was re-established.  This included more than 10 years of stored project data and knowledge, applications for permits and licences and a small core team of staff and contractors.

Horizon will now take steps for the orderly closing down of all its current development activities, but will keep the lines of communication open with Government and other key stakeholders regarding future options at both its sites.

Horizon Nuclear Power Chief Executive Duncan Hawthorne said: “I understand this announcement will be disappointing for our many supporters who had hoped to see our project through to completion and I would personally like to thank you for your support throughout our time on this project.

“In particular I would like to thank our lead host community of Anglesey in Wales, represented by the Isle of Anglesey County Council and Welsh Government, and the key representatives around Oldbury.

“I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to the many international, UK and Welsh stakeholders who have supported us in the development of our projects.

“Nuclear power has a critical role to play in helping tackle our energy needs, meeting our climate change targets and levelling up the economy through green growth and job creation.

“Wylfa Newydd on Anglesey and Oldbury on Severn are highly desirable sites for new nuclear build.  We will do our utmost to facilitate the prospects for development which will bring the major local, national and environmental benefits that nuclear can uniquely deliver as we push to transition to a net zero carbon economy by 2050.”

Hitachi will coordinate with the UK government and relevant organizations regarding its cooperation as the owner of Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) licence and the handling of the planned construction sites and other matters.

A new nuclear power station at Oldbury could generate a minimum of 2,900MW of low carbon electricity, substantially more than the existing station. To achieve this it would require new cooling towers to cool the steam that is used to generate electricity.

Down the road from Oldbury, work continues on EDF Energy‘s major nuclear construction project of two nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point C. These will be the first in a new generation of nuclear power stations in the UK providing low-carbon electricity for around six million homes.

Construction of the second reactor at Hinkley Point C passed a major milestone this month with the lifting of the first part of the massive steel containment liner. Lifted by the world’s largest crane Big Carl, just nine months after the same lift for the first reactor, construction of the 170-tonne “liner cup” was 30 per cent quicker than the identical part on Unit 1, EDF said.