Wylfa suspension could lead to a UK energy crisis

21st January 2019 | Commercial Energy

Hitachi has announced the decision to suspend indefinitely its UK nuclear power station construction project, located in Wylfa Newydd, Anglesey, Wales. Experts have warned that this could lead to a UK energy crisis. The company also announced that it would suspend its other nuclear UK-based project in Oldbury. Construction was to begin after Wylfa was completed.

Separately, in November last year Toshiba announced the winding in of a nuclear power plant project in Moorside, UK. Out of six sites that were identified for construction in the UK this leaves only Hinckley under constructions whilst Bradwell and Sizewell are yet to be given the go-ahead. Hitachi made the decision to suspend its UK nuclear project as it could not reach and agreement with the UK Government on projects financing and related commercial arrangements.

Wylfa suspension

Last year it was announced that the UK government would share the costs of the Wylfa Newydd plant with Hitachi and the Japanese Government. The UK was to invest £5bn (US$6.4bn) in what was expected to be a £16bn project. Leon Flexman, Corporate Affairs Director at Horizon Nuclear Power (HNP), told BBC News that Wylfa was costing Hitachi £1M per day, “a huge ask for any private company”. HNP is a 100% subsidiary of Hitachi, and is undertaking the UK nuclear project.

If Wylfa goes forward it would generate 2.9 GW of energy, 6% of the UK’s current electricity needs. Together Wylfa and Oldbury would have generated 5.8 GW of energy. Suspension risks that generating capacity as well as up to 9,000 construction jobs.

Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said, “Nuclear has an important role to play as part of a diverse energy mix but must be at a price that is fair to electricity bill payers and to taxpayers. We will work closely with Hitachi and the industry to ensure that we find the best means of financing these and other new nuclear projects. And out commitment to Anglesey – with nuclear, renewables, and the deep expertise that it has, a real island of energy – will not be changed by this decision.”

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