Horizon secures more time for Wylfa planning decision

A decision on planning consent for the Wylfa Newydd nuclear power plant project on Anglesey that was due to be made yesterday has been delayed until 31 December, as requested by Horizon Nuclear Power, the UK project developer owned by Japan’s Hitachi.

Horizon was to develop two UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor units at the site in North-West Wales, with the intention to contribute to the energy policy of the UK government, as well as maintaining the business foundation that supports the nuclear industry in Japan.

On 16 September, however, Hitachi announced it will end its business operations on the Wylfa project, which it had suspended in January 2019, and Horizon said it would take steps for the “orderly closing down” of all its current development activities.

Horizon subsequently wrote to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), saying it was now in talks with “third parties”. Its two letters to BEIS were published on the Planning Inspectorate’s website yesterday.

On 22 September, Horizon CEO Duncan Hawthorne wrote to Gareth Leigh, head of energy infrastructure planning at BEIS, requesting the delay to a decision on the Development Consent Order (DCO) for the Wylfa project. Hawthorne wrote that “a short extension to the decision deadline would be beneficial to enable Horizon to work constructively with its key stakeholders to ascertain the options for the Wylfa Newydd DCO Project and secure its future”.

On 28 September, Hawthorne wrote that Horizon was “engaged in discussions with third parties that have expressed an interest in progressing with the development of new nuclear generation at the Wylfa Newydd site”. He added: “These discussions are still at an early stage and it is felt that a short deferral would allow time for Horizon and those interested parties to determine whether, and if so, how the Wylfa Newydd DCO Project could be taken forward in Hitachi, Ltd’s absence.” He did not give details of these interested parties, noting the discussions are “commercially sensitive”.

In an open letter to local communities in North Wales on 25 September, Hawthorne wrote that the Wylfa Newydd site “remains the best in the UK, if not the whole of Europe, for new nuclear power development”.

He added: “I cannot say today what the next steps will be. What I can tell you is that I, and my team at Horizon, will do our utmost, along with our stakeholders and supporters, to make sure the opportunities that Wylfa Newydd represents, can still be taken.”

Courtesy of WNN

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