‘Other interested investors’ in Wylfa Newydd nuclear site, Welsh Secretary says

Wylfa Power Station. Picture: Andrew Woodvine (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Welsh Secretary has said that he will be holding conversations with “other interested investors” over the Wylfa Newydd nuclear power plant site after Hitachi officially confirmed their withdrawal.

The nuclear plant was tipped to bring hundreds of skilled long term jobs to Anglesey but was placed on hold by the Japanese company in January 2019.

Hitachi today confirmed that it will “end business operations on the nuclear power plant construction project in the United Kingdom”.

“Hitachi 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,” they said.

Simon Hart MP said the news was “disappointing” but that he remained “committed” to the project’s completion.

“I‘ve spoken to Horizon over recent days and we remain committed that this site is one of the most attractive globally, crucial for the UK’s nuclear energy future and low carbon economy,” he said.

“Conversations will be ongoing with other interested investors.”

Ynys Mon’s Conservative MP Virginia Crosbie, elected last December, also said that she had not given up hope for the site.

“It is a prime location for a nuclear energy plant and if Hitachi does withdraw then I will continue to work on the island and in Westminster to seek alternative approaches for the site,” she said.

 

‘Gratitude’

Wylfa Newydd is a proposal by Horizon Nuclear Power Limited, which Hitachi acquired in November 2012 to develop the nuclear power station.

Hitachi expressed their “deepest gratitude” to the UK government, the Wales government and residents, the Japanese government and other stakeholders for their continued support and cooperation.

“Hitachi will continue to contribute to improve social, environmental and economic value and people’s quality of life through its Social Innovation Business, including the energy business,” they said.

Horizon 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.”

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