Hitachi Ltd has completed its acquisition of UK developer Horizon Nuclear Power, four weeks after agreeing the purchase from E.ON and RWE.
Horizon Nuclear Power was founded in 2009 as a joint venture between E.ON UK and RWE npower, with plans for up to 3GWe new capacity at both Wylfa, Anglesey and Oldbury, Gloucestershire. In March 2012, E.ON and RWE announced they would not proceed with the new-build plans.
Hitachi’s purchase of Horizon as a going concern, for a reported £696 million, signals continued international interest in UK nuclear new build.
Horizon chief operating officer Alan Raymant said: “We’re delighted that the deal has completed. It secures the future of Horizon, and represents a huge economic opportunity for the UK and in particular the regions around our sites at Wylfa and Oldbury.
“Hitachi have a world-class track record, all of its Advanced Boiling Water Reactors have been constructed to time and to budget. We plan to replicate that success in the UK. Now the sale has completed we will focus on developing our programme and strategy. We look forward to providing further information on our approach in the new year.”
Hitachi plans to build two or three of its own 1300MWe Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) plants at each site. Four such ABWRs are already in operation in Japan, with four more under construction in Japan and Taiwan.
Hitachi’s reactor design has not yet been approved for deployment in the UK, and will have to undergo a Generic Design Assessment (GDA) governed by the Office for Nuclear Regulation. The first plant is not expected to be operational before the mid-2020s.
Areva’s EPR and Westinghouse’s AP1000 are the only reactor designs to have undergone the GDA process. Hitachi’s ABWR is significantly different to these pressurised water reactors, operating at much lower pressures and temperatures but requiring much larger pressure vessels.
Hitachi estimates that around 60% by value of the first reactor will be sourced in the UK, with more local input into later plant. The Japanese group has signed agreements with Rolls-Royce and Babcock International to plan and deliver the programme, and plans to establish an assembly facility for its modular construction technology in the UK.