Horizon-Exelon partnership pushes Wylfa Newydd nuclear plans into next phase

Horizon has insisted that it remains committed to plans to build a new nuclear plant in north Wales after hiring a team from Exelon Generation to advise on the scheme’s operation.

Hitachi-owned Horizon has announced that it is bringing in four experts from the US company to help safety & generation director Greg Evans to develop its own model for operating the power station at Wylfa Newydd on the Isle of Anglesey.

Horizon’s move follows Tuesday’s announcement by Toshiba that it is pulling out of the construction of the £10bn atom power plant at Moorside, Cumbria.

A Horizon spokesman said, however, that it remained on track with its plans to build a new 3GW station next to the existing plant at Wylfa, which was shut down at the end of 2015.

He said that the company is engaging with building contractors to test prices and supply chain relationships.

The next phase would be to source contractors for initial site clearance work. So far work had been limited to investigating the site itself, such as digging bore holes. 

Exelon Generation operates the largest fleet of carbon-free nuclear plants in the U.S with 19.5 GW of capacity from 22 reactors at 13 facilities in Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland and New Jersey.

Eight of the company’s nuclear facilities are boiling water reactors. Under Horizon’s plans, the Wylfa Newydd plant will deploy two advanced boiling water reactors.

Duncan Hawthorne, chief executive officer of Horizon said: “We aim to make Horizon a world-leading nuclear operator and to be the best, you have to learn from the best. With its proven expertise and decades of experience, Exelon will be a vital part of our success. Alongside our own expert people, they will form a team that will ready us to successfully run Wylfa Newydd even as we continue to progress towards its construction.”

As part of a wider announcement on the future of its troubled nuclear power business, Toshiba said that while it will remain involved in the Moorside project it is not “carrying out actual construction work”. The Japanese multinational’s Westinghouse nuclear arm is pulling out of construction work after having to write off $6bn due to cost over-runs on two plants that it is building in the USA.  

Toshiba owns a 60 per cent share in NuGen, the company that is developing Moorside.


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