The Welsh administration has made a last-ditch attempt to salvage a nuclear power project on Anglesey by trying to take it over from Japanese industrial giant Hitachi.
The Labour-led government is understood to have approached Hitachi about acquiring the Horizon project and its staff, to keep it alive in a caretaker role until a developer can be found.
Hitachi killed off plans to build nuclear power plants in the UK in September, after writing off £2 billion in 2018. The firm, whose interests range from trains to power grids, will shut down the project at the end of next month. It had planned to build a £20 billion nuclear plant at Wylfa on Anglesey.
Pro-nuclear MPs and peers last week wrote to Boris Johnson warning of “grave concern” and asking for his help to revive the project. The all-party parliamentary group on nuclear energy said Horizon was “at the heart of the levelling up agenda” and that “only the UK government can facilitate a way to save the project”.
A stumbling block is understood to be the value of the land, with Hitachi demanding a significant sum.
If the Welsh government were to acquire Horizon, it would be one of the biggest commercial interventions by a devolved government. An American consortium that hopes to install AP1000 reactors at Wylfa wrote to the Westminster government in September, calling for it to “acquire the site and assets of the Horizon project”.
The Welsh government said: “While we will not comment on speculation, we remain convinced that Wylfa Newydd is one of the best sites for a new nuclear development in Europe and continue to discuss potential ways forward with both Hitachi and Horizon.”
The business department said: “We remain open to discussing new nuclear projects with any viable companies and investors wishing to develop sites across the UK, including in north Wales.”
Wales bids for Hitachi nuclear site