Wylfa Newydd: Hitachi to abandon nuclear plans

Artist’s impression

Plans to build a new nuclear plant at Wylfa are set to be abandoned.

Anglesey Council says Hitachi has told the local authority they are pulling out of the Wylfa Newydd project.

The plans were suspended in January last year after funding talks with the UK Government broke down.

The Japanese giant has refused to comment amid foreign media speculation about the future of the £20 billion scheme.

But it’s understood a decision to abandon the project will be made when a board meeting takes place in Tokyo on Wednesday (16th September).

It comes just two weeks before Business Secretary, Alok Sharma, was due to announce whether the UK Government would give planning permission for Wylfa Newydd under a development consent order (DCO).

Ministers have twice delayed making a decision – in October last year and again in April.

It’s believed executives from Horizon Nuclear Power – a subsidary of Hitachi – had been making progress in talks with UK officials over the past few weeks.

But according to the Financial Times, citing sources close to the project, Horizon chiefs had appeared to be ‘blindsided’ by decisions made in Tokyo. One source was quoted as saying the firm was being ”deeply dishonourable” by ”totally quitting” Wylfa.

Back on Anglesey, council leader Llinos Medi said she had asked to meet with ministers from the Welsh and UK Governments, after receiving a letter from Hitachi confirming the end of the project.

But opponents against the scheme have welcomed the news. Robat Idris from the campaign group PAWB (People Against Wylfa B) tweeted there had been ”many missed opportunities in pursuing the foolish nuclear dream for years” and called for a focus on ”green sustainable work from now on”.

He added it was ”very good news…for the whole of Wales”.

The Unite union described Wylfa Newydd as ”dead and buried” – they hit out at ”successive Conservative governments”, who had ”never fully committed themselves” to pushing through a landmark development.

Peter Hughes, Unite Wales Secretary said: ”The future regeneration on the region has been based upon the bedrock that Wylfa Newydd would proceed.”

”This is a hammer blow to the future prospects of some of most economically deprived communities in the whole of Wales.”

The Prospect Union said it a serious blow to the North Wales economy and the chances of hitting Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Sue Ferns, the union’s deputy general secretary, added: ”If we are remotely serious about hitting our carbon reduction targets as a country then we need to invest now in proven low carbon technologies, including new nuclear.”

”The TUC today reaffirmed its commitment to new nuclear as part of a low carbon energy future. It is time for the government to do the same by publishing the Energy White Paper and taking immediate practical steps to support nuclear development, including finding and supporting a new developer for the prime site at Wylfa.”

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