Japanese industrial titan Hitachi has rejected pleas from unions to keep its Welsh nuclear power project alive, blaming the government for not providing enough financial support. Bosses of Unite, the TUC, GMB and Prospect wrote to Hitachi this month urging it to reconsider plans to shut down Horizon, which planned to build a £20bn nuclear power station at Wylfa on Anglesey. It is due to close at the end of March. Hitachi scrapped plans to build nuclear power plants in the UK in September, after writing off £2bn in 2018. Insiders warned that could scupper a sale of the project, despite interest from bidders including a US consortium of Bechtel, Southern Company and Westinghouse. “It would be a tragedy to mothball Horizon at this juncture,” wrote the unions. “We therefore respectfully ask that you leave the Horizon team in place and in a position to actively advance [the] proposal at least until September this year.” They warned that if the Horizon team were disbanded, the entire project, which hoped to create 8,500 jobs, would be at risk. Last week Hitachi executive Toshikazu Nishino rejected those pleas, saying that most Horizon workers will be laid off by the end of March, leaving only staff to maintain the site. Nishino added that while Hitachi shared “the global concern about climate change”, it had not received adequate backing from the government to proceed and “no viable options have been found”. “Despite much engagement with the UK and Welsh governments, we received no proposals for alternative financing arrangements, or for the alternative use of Horizon and its assets,” he wrote.
Times 24th Jan 2021 read more »