RWE and E.ON pull the plug on UK nuclear new build Plans for a new generation of ...

RWE and E.ON pull the plug on UK nuclear new build Plans for a new generation of new nuclear power stations were rocked in March as the two major Germany-based utilities RWE and E.ON announced that they would seek new investors for their 50-50 UK joint venture Horizon Nuclear Power, which was established in 2009. The two companies will not proceed with building nuclear power plants in the UK and only EdF Energy has been suggested as a possible new investor in Horizon. Horizon was planning to build a 3,500 MW nuclear plant at Oldbury-on-Severn in Gloucestershire and about 5,000 MW of nuclear generating capacity at Wylfa in Wales. The decision is reported to be a result of the costs of shutting reactors down in Germany and an uncertain economic climate in UK and Europe. The companies cited the cost of losing 5,500 MW of their German nuclear capacity with a €2.8bn write-down as contributing to their change of plan, reports the World Nuclear Association. EdF Energy is proceeding with plans to build four 1,670 MW EPR reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset and Sizewell in Suffolk. Westinghouse and Nuclear Power Delivery UK (NPD - the team established to deliver the Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear power plant design to UK customers) expressed their disappointment with the decision made by E.ON and RWE. Work over the last few years with Horizon had made it clear that new nuclear plants are hugely important to the energy independence and economic vitality of the UK, and especially to the communities targeted for development in North Wales and southern England, said Westinghouse. The company added that its commitment to the UK nuclear industry is unshaken: ‘We strongly believe that the AP1000 technology is ideally suited to the Wylfa and Oldbury sites and elsewhere in the UK and Europe; and our business model is an economic stimulus package in and of itself, unsurpassed in its ability to generate thousands of long-term, well-paying jobs across a broad range of business sectors throughout the UK.’ Westinghouse said it intends to engage Horizon and its owners to explore alternative investors in the company. Commentators speculated that the decision, if it leads to a much reduced nuclear new-build programme, could shift the pressure onto gas supplies to plug the looming UK power supply gap. The UK could be even more reliant on gas imports, as gas-fired generation will be required to shoulder even more responsibility to supply baseload power.

Please login to save this item