Nuclear new build on horizon as Hitachi scoops programme

Sheffield University and the Nuclear AMRC also saw their £37m Regional Growth Fund bid for nuclear supply chain develiopment progressed today

Japanese technology firm Hitachi has acquired Horizon, the UK nuclear new build programme, creating the potential for 12,000 new jobs.

Horizon, a programme which includes plans to build two new nuclear power stations on Anglesey and in Gloucestershire, was abandoned by e.On and RWE earlier this year.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change has welcomed the confirmation that Hitachi will take on responsibility for completion of the programme.

Hitachi has said that its successful bid marks the beginning of a 100 year commitment to the UK.

It also says that the first nuclear power plant to be built under Horizon should be feeding electricity to the grid by the first half of the 2020s. However, the Hitachi reactor design, the ABWR is yet to gain full approval for UK build from national nuclear authorities.

Hitachi’s successful bid for the UK Horizon programme will help plug a gap in the company’s prospects caused by the decision of the Japanese government to phase out reliance on nuclear power by 2030.

Hitachi has committed to sourcing around 60% of the first Horizon plant from UK suppliers and this is expected to increase with subsequent builds. In addition the plants will create significant employment. Each is expected to support a local workforce of around 1,000 once operational and 6,000 during build.

Energy Minister John Hayes linked today’s announcement to the forthcoming publication of the Energy Bill in November saying that it will provide investors like Hitachi, “with the certainty they need, and to get the best long term deal for the consumer.”

Mr Hayes also stated that, “[Government] commitment to new nuclear energy is stronger than ever.”

In a separate announcement from BIS today it was confirmed that as part of the Regional Growth Fund Round 3, Sheffield University’s bid for a £37 million pound project at the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre will go forward to final contracting and due diligence.

The project focuses on supplier development and high-value manufacturing research in partnership with key industrial members, including Rolls Royce.