Hitachi closes in on UK nuclear reactors plan

Hitachi's plans to construct six nuclear reactors in the UK came a step closer to fruition today, after Ministers called for an assessment of the reactor design.

The Japanese firm bought the Horizon Nuclear Project from RWE and E.ON for £696m in November 2012 and plans to develop new nuclear reactors at Wylfa in Anglesey and Oldbury in Gloucestershire. 

Plans for the six Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABRWs) will receive a Generic Design Assessment (GDA) from the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency.

Four ABRWs have already been approved and constructed in Japan and are also licensed in the USA and Taiwan.

John Hayes, Minister of State for Energy, said:

“New nuclear has a central role to play in our energy future, delivering secure, low carbon power and supporting jobs and economic growth. Hitachi’s commitment to the UK is extremely welcome, and I am determined that we work closely with the company to deliver their planned investment.”

However, Hayes insisted that it was vital the Government was absolutely sure that any reactor used in the UK met rigorous safety standards.

“That’s why I’m asking the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency to conduct a thorough examination of the reactor design proposed for the Wylfa and Oldbury sites,” he added.

Hitachi UK welcomed the call for an examination, heralding the UK’s regulatory process.

Hitachi Nuclear Power Systems CEO Masaharu Hanyu said: “Today’s announcement from the Minister of State marks the start of an important process for the ABWR, for Hitachi-GE and for Horizon Nuclear Power. The UK GDA is a rigorous and thorough process and we look forward to having our initial discussions with the regulators.

Conor McGlone

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