UK in talks with Hitachi over Welsh nuclear plant site, FT says

Nuclear power plant. (Reference image by Orion Montoya, Flickr.)

The UK government is holding early-stage talks to buy a site in Wales to build a nuclear power plant, a move aimed at reviving Britain’s ageing nuclear fleet, the Financial Times reported.

State-owned Great British Nuclear is said to be holding discussions with Hitachi Ltd. to buy a site in Wylfa in Anglesey, an island off north Wales, the FT said, citing confirmation from an unidentified minister. The government would then aim to find a new private investor to develop the site, the newspaper said.

Hitachi walked away from plans to build a new nuclear reactor at the Welsh site in January 2019 after failing to secure a financial agreement with the British government. The move ended up costing the company £2.1 billion ($2.7 billion), according to the newspaper.

The UK has huge nuclear power ambitions, but it’s struggling to get its program off the ground as construction is often prone to delays. The government is aiming for as much as 24 gigawatts of capacity by 2050 and will have to accelerate rapidly to achieve that.

Last month, Electricite de France SA said its nuclear project at Hinkley Point, the UK’s largest energy project, will cost as much as £10 billion extra to build and take several years longer than planned. The UK government also announced an additional £1.3 billion for the Sizewell C nuclear plant as it seeks to attract private capital.

Power output from the UK’s nuclear power plants fell to the lowest in more than four decades last year, signaling an increasing reliance on fossil fuels that will make it more difficult to reach the nation’s net zero emissions target.

(By Priscila Azevedo Rocha)


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