Press Releases

“Wylfa remains strong site for vital new nuclear”

17 January 2019

Nuclear Industry Association reaction to Hitachi’s decision to suspend work on Wylfa Newydd project:

Hitachi has announced today that it has suspended work on the Wylfa Newydd project on Anglesey. This follows formal discussions between Hitachi and the UK Government and the Government of Japan on the financial structure of the project to ensure it would deliver for both investors and the UK electricity consumer.

Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, said: “Today’s news is disappointing, not just for the Wylfa Newydd project but for Anglesey and the nuclear industry as a whole. Wylfa remains a strong site for vital new nuclear power for the UK.

“It’s regrettable that this project has been suspended, especially as a considerable amount of groundwork has already taken place on the Wylfa project, including creating a supply chain to deliver the project. Nuclear at Wylfa has local support, and the Horizon project would provide 60 years of reliable, secure, low carbon power for homes, businesses and public services – with a strike price much below any offshore wind project generating power now and cost competitive with all low carbon generation. It is imperative that new nuclear at this site goes ahead and the barriers to that are removed.

“Wylfa is part of the UK’s nuclear new build programme, which is proceeding with Hinkley Point C build which is on track, with more than 3,600 people currently working on the construction site. A third round of consultation for Sizewell C is underway and the approval process for the reactor design at Bradwell B is proceeding.

“The urgent need for further new nuclear capacity in the UK should not be underestimated, with all but one of the UK’s nuclear power plant due to come offline by 2030. If we want a balanced generation mix, Government must work with industry to deliver that vital capacity on this site. At stake are our ability to provide bulk, low carbon power, energy security, and the potential loss of the chance of thousands of highly skilled, well paid jobs in Wales and North West England.

“Without a diverse low carbon mix and with increasing demand to power electric vehicles, we run the risk of becoming more reliant on burning fossil fuels to produce our electricity.”

Nuclear power plays an important role in our energy mix, currently providing 21% of the UK’s electricity mix, and 40% of the low-carbon electricity generated in the UK.

New nuclear is an integral part of a future decarbonised power supply. For prolonged periods both this summer, in June and then again in December and the early days of January this year, wind produced less than 7.5% of our electricity demand. Relying exclusively on intermittent and variable sources of low carbon power alone will increase, not reduce, overall emissions.

 

ENDS

 

Notes to editors

The Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) is the trade association and representative voice of Britain’s civil nuclear industry. It represents more than 260 companies including nuclear power station operators, new build developers and vendors, those engaged in decommissioning, waste management, all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle, supply chain and consultancy companies. Find out more at www.niauk.org.uk or @niauk.

The nuclear industry generates a fifth of all electricity used in the UK, directly employs over 63,000 professionals and has the support of 74% of the public as part of a future mix. In 2016 its activities directly contributed £6.4 billion to UK GDP. The power generated by existing power stations avoids the emissions of 22.7 million tonnes of CO₂ a year – the equivalent of taking around a third of Britain’s cars off the roads. Read the Nuclear Activity Report.

Horizon Nuclear Power’s Press Release can be viewed online.

Wylfa Newydd was expected to start generating in the mid-2020s and to generate 2.9 gigawatts of electricity, which is enough to power five million homes.

The Department of Business and Industrial Strategy’s Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES) report, published in July 2018, showed low carbon sources of electricity accounted for a record 50.1% of power generated in the UK in 2017. This consisted of 21% from nuclear, 14.8% wind (8.6% onshore and 6.2% offshore), 3.4% solar and 2.3% hydro amongst low carbon power sources.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) published a report which showed that on the road to zero-carbon, if we were to exclude nuclear in the UK, the system cost would be over twice what it would be to include it as part of the mix. Read the MIT report.

On the following days, wind produced less than 7.5% of our electricity demand, increasing our emissions as a result: 1 June 2018, 2 June 2018, 3 June 2018, 7 June 2018, 3 August 2018, 5 August 2018, 4 July 2018, 5 July 2018, 6 July 2018, 11 July 2018, 12 July 2018, 13 July 2018, 16 July 2018, 17 July 2018, 18 July 2018, 19 July 2018, 20 July 2018, 21 July 2018, 24 July 2018, 25 July 2018, 7 August 2018, 13 August 2018, 20 August 2018, 30 August 2018, 3 September 2018, 18 October 2018, 26 November 2018, 4 December 2018, 24 December 2018, 27 December 2018, 2 January 2019, 3 January 2019, 6 January 2019.

National Grid’s Future Energy Scenarios is available online.