Wylfa: Hitachi ‘withdraws’ from nuclear project
Plans for a £ 15- £ 20bn nuclear power plant in Wales have been scrapped.
Work on the Wylfa Newydd project in Anglesey was suspended in January last year due to cost increases after Hitachi failed to reach a funding agreement with the UK government.
The Island of Anglesey Council said the company has now confirmed in writing that it is withdrawing from the project.
Council leader Llinos Medi said: “This is very disappointing, especially at such a difficult time from an economic point of view.”
Hitachi-owned developer Horizon Nuclear said he didn’t want to comment.
The British government also declined to comment.
However, the board of Anglesey said it had received a letter from the Tokyo-based parent company confirming its decision.
Mr Medi asked to meet with the Welsh and British governments to discuss the future of the site.
A two-reactor plant in Wylfa was the largest ever proposed energy project in Wales.
It was expected to have the potential to power up to five million homes, but the project was put on hold due to rising initial costs.
With 9,000 workers ready to begin construction, the January 2019 decision was called a “blow” to the Welsh economy by business leaders.
The company said in June that it hoped to get extra funding from the UK government to resume the project, but has now thrown in the towel.
Analysis by BBC Wales business correspondent Brian Meechan
As one of Wales’ largest proposed construction projects, Wylfa Newydd has faced turbulent times.
The company behind it, Hitachi, has always been concerned about the costs of building the new nuclear power plant.
The UK government went some way in offering financial support for the project, but it was not enough to satisfy Hitachi’s concerns about financial risks.
The UK government also held a consultation on plans that would see energy customers pay for construction costs upfront.
The industry has been waiting for months for a result to this.
When the UK government said nuclear was part of its push for green energy, the industry thought it was a positive sign for Wylfa Newydd.
But critics question how green nuclear power really is, let alone how safe it is.
Wales has been called the “land of artists’ impressions” with many great projects being talked about and never realized.
Wylfa Newydd’s supporters will be worried he’ll become another one of those, while his critics would be happy to see the back of the plans.
The decision will have “a big effect on the economy,” according to Edward Jones, a professor of economics at Bangor University.
“We are currently feeling the effect of Covid-19 and Brexit is around the corner, and we will feel the negative impact of that on the economy,” he said.
“A lot of people were investing in learning new skills with the idea of getting a job at Wylfa.
“We know that companies are investing in new production methods to become part of the nuclear power plant’s supply chain.
“The challenge now is to find other projects that can use these capabilities.”
Mr. Jones said other energy projects on the island, such as the Morlais Tidal Energy Regime, could use the investments already made.