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September 17, 2020

Hitachi scraps plan for UK nuclear plant

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September 17, 2020

LONDON: Japan’s Hitachi on Wednesday scrapped its multi-billion-pound nuclear plant project in Wales in face of the deteriorating investment environment, in a blow to Britain’s atomic energy programme.

The project in Anglesey, already suspended for 20 months because of financial difficulties, was cancelled as “the investment environment has become increasingly severe due to the impact of Covid-19”, Hitachi said in a statement.

The company said it would consult with the UK government and others regarding the fate of its licences and the Wylfa Newydd site that would have housed two reactors.

“We recognise that this will be very disappointing news for the people of North Wales,” the British government said in a statement. It insisted, however, that “nuclear power will play a key role in the UK’s future energy mix” as the country transitions “to a low-carbon economy”. The cost of building the Anglesey plant had been estimated at up to £20 billion. Its targeted production capacity was nearly three gigawatts — enough to supply around six per cent of Britain’s electricity needs.

As recently as last month, Hitachi’s Horizon Nuclear subsidiary had insisted it was still committed to the project. Hitachi had been waiting for the British government’s latest energy strategy, which could potentially include new financing models for the nuclear industry.

Tom Greatrex, chief executive of Nuclear Industry Association, said Hitachi’s decision “underscores the urgent need for progress on new nuclear projects in the UK if net zero