Horizon Nuclear Power, the UK project developer owned by Japan’s Hitachi, has withdrawn its application for planning consent for the Wylfa Newydd nuclear power plant. Earlier this month, Horizon had for the second time secured a deferral on a decision for the Development Consent Order for the project on Anglesey.

Hitachi intends to manage the site under the control of its subsidiary Hitachi Europe Limited (Image: Horizon)

Horizon was to develop two UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor units at the site in North-West Wales, with the intention to contribute to the energy policy of the UK government, as well as maintaining the business foundation that supports the nuclear industry in Japan. Last September, however, Hitachi announced it will end its business operations on the Wylfa project, which it had suspended in January 2019, and Horizon said it would take steps for the "orderly closing down" of all its current development activities.

On 27 January, Horizon CEO Duncan Hawthorne wrote to Gareth Leigh, head of energy infrastructure planning at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, informing him of the withdrawal of the application. In his letter, Hawthorne said discussions with third parties that had expressed an interest in progressing with the development of new nuclear generation at the Wylfa Newydd site have not led to any definitive proposal that would have allowed the transfer of the sites to some new development entity willing to replace Hitachi Ltd.

"As you know Hitachi announced the suspension of the project in January 2019 and its intent to withdraw entirely in September 2020. In light of this and in the absence of a new funding policy from HM Government, Hitachi Ltd has taken the decision to wind-up Horizon as an active development entity by 31 March 2021. As a result, we must now, regretfully, withdraw the application submitted on 1 June 2018 for the Wylfa Newydd DCO Project," he wrote. "The Wylfa Newydd site continues to benefit from a decade of major investment and development and is too important to the Net Zero agenda and the economic future of Anglesey and North Wales, for that progress to be wasted," he added.

Hitachi intends to manage the site under the control of its subsidiary Hitachi Europe Limited.

"This will be done with a view to considering development proposals from commercial or public sector developers who may come forward, and Horizon will continue to support this intent until the end of March. Beyond this period Hitachi Europe will remain available to respond to any parties who may have an interest in acquiring these sites," Hawthorne wrote.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

Date: Saturday, 30 January 2021
Original article: world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Horizon-withdraws-Wylfa-planning-application