E.ON and RWE npower have confirmed that Hitachi is to buy their 50:50 joint venture Horizon Nuclear Power for £969 million.
The partners set up Horizon in 2010 to invest in new nuclear reactors at Wylfa on Anglesey in Wales and Oldbury in Gloucestershire, each with a capacity of up to 3300 MW.
But earlier this year following a strategic review, E.ON and RWE announced that they were dropping their nuclear expansion plans for other projects that could deliver ‘earlier’ benefits for customers.
Tony Cocker, E.ON UK’s chief executive, said in a statement that Horizon was an “attractive project” but at the current time “not for us”.
The announcement was a blow for the UK government, which wants to see a new generation of nuclear power stations in the UK to replace the current facilities that are coming to the end of the lives.
Now, however, Japanese electronics giant Hitachi will take over the concern. With the future of nuclear power looking increasingly uncertain at home, Japanese nuclear developers are now looking elsewhere for future projects.
Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) technology, developed by GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, has already been licensed in a number of countries and is the only advanced nuclear technology in operation, with four reactors in Japan.
“This is an important day not just for the staff at Horizon but also for whole of the UK. Throughout this process we have been clear that new nuclear developments have a vital role to play in helping the UK produce the low carbon electricity it will need,” commented Cocker.
Hitachi’s executive officer and president Hiroaki Nakanishi said the acquisition marked the start of a “100 year commitment” to the UK and its aim of a low-carbon energy supply.
“We look forward… [to] working harmoniously with UK companies and stakeholders for the delivery of this vital part of Britain's national infrastructure and the creation of a strong UK nuclear power company,” he added.
For further information:
Investment in UK nuclear revival plan looking uncertain (3-Oct)
Future of nuclear power in Japan still in confusion (20-Sept)
Japan to phase out nuclear power by 2040 (17-Sept)
E.ON and RWE npower drop UK nuclear development plans (29-Mar)
30 October 2012