Hitachi’s decision to halt Wylfa could be a blessing in disguise. Instead of further subsidising a globally declining industry, the Government has simpler alternatives to ensure long-term energy security and affordable electricity prices for all. Natural gas, more renewables, storage and demand response are cost-efficient solutions with significantly lower risk than subsidising the potentially ruinous cost of atomic fission. According to the National Grid’s Future Energy Scenarios report, Britain may require generation capacity to be increased up to 268 GW by 2050, from 103 GW installed today. Driving this growth in demand could be a dramatic shift in passenger transport. The number of electric vehicles driving on Britain’s roads and plugging into the network for a recharge could increase to 36m cars by 2040, up from about 200,000 at the end of last year. This transport revolution could make nuclear essential to Britain’s long-term decarbonised energy mix. This is the view of many industrialists and energy experts. Nuclear plants are a dependable source of low carbon baseload electricity, meeting 24/7 demand while renewables and flexibility manage the rest. Building gas-fired generation is the simplest alternative. The world is awash with the fuel, which is flexible, relatively clean compared to coal, and competitively priced for consumers. For Hitachi’s £2.1bn loss on Wylfa’s stalled development, 4 GW of combined cycle capacity or at least 600 MW of offshore wind could have been built. Meanwhile, the UK’s increasing pool of renewable assets took a 33pc share in total generation last year. With the help of battery storage, demand response and flexible generation, UK renewables will continue to reduce the need for fossil-fired and atomic generation. Better electricity storage technology likely to be developed over the next 20 years and smarter networks could also make renewables more reliable. Although this may not be enough to provide the vital baseload security, nuclear can guarantee that there are still cheaper ways to keep Britain’s lights on.
Telegraph 18th Jan 2019 read more »
Dame Sue Ion FRS FREng, Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said: “This is a tragedy, all down to a flawed ‘leave it to the market’ approach with no consistency in policy and it proves there are limits to markets. “The UK must be the only developed nation on earth leaving our critical energy infrastructure beholden to overseas entities. There are some things which the government has an ultimate duty to deliver and they cannot duck the fact that they have responsibility for nationally significant infrastructure. Successive governments, not just this one, have said they want nuclear energy in the mix so they have to ensure it happens. “Whether it’s pause or cease by Hitachi it’s not just about the jobs to operate the site – they are being quoted in the hundreds, but it is thousands when you consider the construction period and the supply chain. It’s a devastating blow for North Wales and for the nuclear sector generally and leaves the Government’s Nuclear Industry Strategy in tatters and companies across the whole sector unwilling to invest further. “This blows a hole in our journey to low carbon-reduced emissions. It is a fallacy to think we can provide the UK’s energy with intermittent renewables alone, nuclear energy is an essential source of large scale low carbon reliable secure electricity for decades to come for an industrialised society. No country has relied on renewable energy alone for its essential electricity power. When the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing where do you think we’ll get the essential power from? We remain a pretty isolated island with very limited links to draw power from the continent. As we electrify transport we need more electricity on our grid – probably double what we have now. We are running out of time as our existing nuclear stations retire over the next 10-15 years.”
Science Media Centre 17th Jan 2019 read more »
An environmental NGO, Friends of the Earth Japan and a local anti-nuclear group, People Against Wylfa B (PAWB) welcome this decision, and yet continue to demand Hitachi to completely pull out of its nuclear power business. The most questionable aspect of the Wylfa project was its economic feasibility. The strike price of the electric power from the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant, a power plant that is currently under construction in the U.K., was twice higher than the average market price. Based on this case, a high strike price was going to be essential in order to make the project economically feasible. Furthermore, both the Japanese government and the U.K. government were expected to support it with public funding. When the media reported that Hitachi would book a loss of 200 billion to 300 billion yen, Hitachi’s stock price rose. This indicates that the market also observes the project as very risky. One of the major reasons Hitachi suspended the Wylfa Newydd project was that they could not find investment partners to reduce the possible risks that they would have to bear.
PAWB 17th Jan 2019 read more »
The legacy of this is that over a decade has been wasted on Wylfa, with very little alternative economic planning in evidence. Our young people have been promised jobs on very shaky foundations. Good land has been destroyed to create infrastructure to back the project. It is time for politicians and officials from the UK Government, the Welsh Government and Anglesey to admit that they were wrong. Wales is rich in natural resources which can be used to create a vibrant and sustainable energy future, and above all else create more jobs in less time than Wylfa would have done. It is evident that all the economic planning in Ynys Môn, Gwynedd and across north Wales has been based on the assumption that Wylfa B is going to happen. Those involved in the past decade should not be taking part in forming a credible economic plan for our people and communities . It is very obvious that we should not look to large multinational corporations who don’t appreciate the nature of our communities to secure a sustainable fufture for our people. PAWB calls on Ynys Môn and Gwynedd County Councils to suspend their Joint Local Development Plan which was based and adopted on the assumption that Wylfa B would go ahead. We call on them to form a completely new plan without any support to additional nuclear developments in north west Wales. It is also obvious that there is the same lack of interest shown by the private sector in the Small Modular Reactor technology, therefore it would be foolish to waste taxpayers money and yet more years in pursuing that dream. Similarly, the North Wales Growth Deal which all 6 county councils in North Wales have signed up to looks equally flawed because of the same assumption. That initiative also need to be scrapped and the councils involved should start again. PAWB also calls for the Planning Inspectorate’s ongoing assessment of Horizon’s application for a Development Consent Order for their twin ABWRs at Wylfa to be halted. Not a penny more of public money should be spent on this longwinded process of assessing these huge white elephants.
PAWB 17th Jan 2019 read more »
The Isle of Anglesey County Council has expressed ‘profound disappointment and concern’ at Hitachi’s decision to suspend the construction of a nuclear power plant in north Wales. The Japanese firm, which owns the company running the plant Horizon Nuclear Power, has stopped work on the £13bn project at Wylfa Newydd in Anglesey due to the cost of the project.
Local Gov 18th Jan 2019 read more »
Business and energy secretary Greg Clark has revealed the terms of the deal that the UK government offered Hitachi of Japan in a failed bid to persuade it to build the £20bn Wylfa Newydd new nuclear project.
Construction Index 18th Jan 2019 read more »
The CBI has commented on the suspension by Hitachi of their £20 billion investment in the Wylfa nuclear power plant in Wales. Matthew Fell, CBI chief UK policy director, said: “The suspension of Hitachi’s work on the nuclear power plant at Wylfa is a significant blow to the UK’s future energy supply plans. “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. Nuclear power is a vital part of our energy mix, and new projects are needed to secure our future low-carbon, mixed energy supply. It will also be a missed opportunity for the local community in Anglesey, with the loss of up to 10,000 new jobs at peak construction. “The Government has to demonstrate it is committed to meeting our climate change targets by supporting new low-carbon power supply. The loss of new nuclear projects could leave us more heavily dependent in the long-run on fossil fuels, which could risk our legally binding climate targets. The Government needs to build on its support for new nuclear power by giving individual projects the certainty they need, alongside measures that deliver a mix of low-carbon and renewable technologies.”
Plant & Works 18th Jan 2019 read more »
Mirror 17th Jan 2019 read more »
Up to 10,000 new jobs threatened by Wylfa suspension. Hitachi’s decision to pull the plug on building a nuclear plant at Wylfa Newydd could see 10,000 new jobs headed down the drain, according to the CBI. Horizon Nuclear Power, the vehicle through which Hitatchi planned to build the plant, already employed 380 people at its headquarters in Gloucester and another 65 at an office in Anglesey. Following a short period of consultation, almost all employees will be made redundant.
Building 18th Jan 2019 read more »
Shelved Wylfa nuclear project to hit 350 suppliers.
New Civil Engineer 18th Jan 2019 read more »
A £100M project to build a power connector under the Menai Strait is under threat following developer Horizon’s decision to suspend the Wylfa nuclear plant project.
New Civil Engineer 18th Jan 2019 read more »
Decision to suspend Wylfa Newydd nuclear plant also halts controversial plans for overhead pylons on Anglesey.
North Wales Chronicle 17th Jan 2019 read more »
After Japanese firm Hiatchi scraps its £20bn nuclear power plant in Wales ALEX BRUMMER says: We need to move fast so the lights don’t go out. Who will keep the lights burning in Britain? That’s the question we must all ask after Hitachi withdrew from the UK’s plans to replace our ageing nuclear power stations with state-of-the-art reactors. Be under no illusions – this is a disastrous setback to our nation’s energy future. In a few short months, two Japanese firms, Toshiba in Cumbria and now Hitachi at Wylfa on Anglesey, have fallen by the wayside because of escalating costs. This leaves the £20billion Chinese-financed Hinkley Point in Somerset as the only potential new nuclear reactor on course to be built.
Daily Mail 18th Jan 2019 read more »