Wylfa: End for £20bn nuclear plant bid as plans ditched

February 24, 2021
Energy
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Image Source: https://www.bbc.com/

It is all over for the £20bn project to build a new nuclear power plant on Anglesey, after developers dropped their planning bid.

Horizon Nuclear Power has pulled a request to approve reactor designs at Wylfa, blaming UK government funding options as one reason.

Japanese backers Hitachi pulled out of the development last September.

Another firm has since unveiled plans for a smaller hybrid nuclear and wind plant on a separate site at Wylfa.

The Development Consent Order (DCO) process, which is the name given to planning applications for major UK infrastructure projects such as Wylfa, has been under consideration since June 2018.

A decision was due to be made on the plan by the UK’s business and energy secretary at the end of April, following a series of requests by Horizon to extend the process while it held talks with other interested parties.

But Horizon has now written to the Planning Inspectorate and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, confirming the end of the troubled project.

Its letter said negotiations on the future of Wylfa had been “positive and encouraging”.

However, it added: “They have not, unfortunately, led to any definitive proposal that would have allowed the transfer to some new development entity.

“In light of this and in the absence of a new funding policy from HM Government, Hitachi Ltd., has taken the decision to wind-up Horizon as an active development entity by 31 March 2021.

“As a result, we must now, regretfully, withdraw the application.”

In a statement, Horizon chief executive Duncan Hawthorne, said the announcement would be disappointing for the project’s supporters.

He added: “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.”

The site at Wylfa, which sits next to the former nuclear plant now undergoing decommissioning, will be managed by Hitachi Europe “with a view to considering development proposals from commercial or public sector developers”.

Anglesey council leader Llinos Medi said she was “extremely disappointed” by the news which was a “real blow” for the island’s economical future.

“We simply cannot let these long years of effort and hard work be for nothing; our young people and communities expect and deserve far better opportunities,” she added.

Ynys Mon MP Virginia Crosbie said Wylfa remained “here ready and waiting for someone to take it forward”.

The UK government said it was aware that Horizon Nuclear Power had notified the Planning Inspectorate that it is withdrawing its application for a Development Consent Order.

“We offered a significant package of potential support to this project that went well beyond what any government has been willing to consider in the past, including taking a one third equity stake, providing all required debt financing and offering generous financial support through our contract for difference scheme,” a spokesperson said.

“We understand that this will be disappointing news for the people of north Wales, however Wylfa remains an important site for potential new projects and the UK government will continue to explore future opportunities for it.”

Story Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-55833186

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