The Independent Assessment of Nuclear Developments in the World

Home > News > WNISR in the Media > City AM (UK): Business groups worried over energy future as Hitachi pulls (...)

City AM (UK): Business groups worried over energy future as Hitachi pulls out of Welsh nuclear plant

Friday 18 January 2019

Business groups worried over energy future as Hitachi pulls out of Welsh nuclear plant

City AM, 18 January 2019

By August Graham

Business groups were left exasperated yesterday as another core investor pulled its support from the UK nuclear sector, denting the government’s energy plans.

Japanese giant Hitachi said it would suspend work on the £16bn Wylfa nuclear power plant which was intended to produce six per cent of the UK’s electricity.

Protracted discussions with the government, and a “generous” offer to guarantee Hitachi would get £75 per megawatt, was not enough to save the plant, energy secretary Greg Clark told parliament.

“I am very sorry to say that despite the best efforts of everyone involved we’ve not been able to reach an agreement to the satisfaction of all concerned,” said Duncan Hawthorne, the chief executive of Hitachi subsidiary Horizon Nuclear Power.

The news, which comes after Toshiba pulled out of construction on the Moorside plant in Cumbria, cemented worries among business groups.

“As the second cancellation of funding for a new nuclear plant in as many months, it leaves in doubt the UK’s ability to replace its existing nuclear fleet,” Matthew Fell from the Confederation of British Industry said.

“Nuclear power is a vital part of our energy mix, and new projects are needed to secure our future low-carbon, mixed energy supply.”

The decision will hit workers in Anglesey, where 10,000 jobs were expected at its peak during construction. The British Chambers of Commerce said the decision was “devastating” for north Wales and the region.

Local businesses which have spent time and resources to become part of the Wylfa supply chain will also face problems, the chamber said.

“This latest announcement will add further to their jitters regarding the security of our future energy supply,” said Edwin Morgan, director of policy at the Institute of Directors.

The Wylfa project was scrapped as the nuclear sector comes under increased pressure from renewable energy sources, experts told City A.M. yesterday.

Mycle Schneider, a Paris-based consultant and lead-author of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report, said that UK wind and solar output tripled output between 2012 and 2017, adding 40 terawatt hours of energy – almost twice the amount expected to be generated at Wylfa.

“There has been a dramatic decline in the cost of renewables. Even five years ago people argued that we need natural gas as a bridging technology, but not anymore,” he said.

Energy secretary Greg Clark struck a similar note, telling parliament that the “economics of the energy market have changed significantly in recent years.”

Jonathan Marshall, head of analysis at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, said that the government is slowly moving away from plans to rely on nuclear power to reach carbon emissions targets.


What They Say…

“The Report sets forth in painstaking detail the actual experience and achievements of nuclear energy around the world.”

Peter A. Bradford

Former commissioner
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)
(in his foreword to the 2013 report)
“A vital public service... Uniquely independent, thorough, and timely assessment."

Amory B. Lovins

Chairman, Rocky Mountain Institute
“This annual publication has over 20 years evolved into the most reliable, strikingly original, comprehensive and penetrating assessment of the global nuclear industry.”

Praful Bidwai

Financial Chronicle
Delhi, India
"Amid the hype and PR, the smoke and mirrors, of the 'nuclear renaissance', the Status Report offers a hard-edged reality check."

Walt Patterson

Associate Fellow Chatham House
London, UK
“Fantastic piece of work. Must reading for any observer of nuclear energy."

Henri Sokolski

Executive Director Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
Washington DC, USA
“Reliable research based on cold, hard facts, unlike the hype and amnesia of industry sources.”

Scott Ludlam

“Félicitations pour la dernière édition du WNISR. Formidable comme d'habitude!”

Fulcieri Maltini

International Consultant Former Director of the Nuclear Safety Account, EBRD
“Thought-provoking as usual.”

Will Dalrymple

Editor Nuclear Engineering International
"The authoritative report on the status of nuclear power plants worldwide is the World Nuclear Industry Status Report."


Bangkok, Thailand
“Such an illuminating report.”

Sam Geall

Deputy Editor China Dialogue
London, UK
"An astounding collection of facts and figures, a myth-busting international overview… An eye-opening piece of work!"

R. Andreas Krämer

Chairman Ecologic Institute
Berlin, Germany
“I really appreciate you letting us excerpt your report! It’s incredibly well researched and comprehensive, so thank you!”

Stuart Luman

Associate Editor Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists