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Firms behind new Wylfa nuclear power station pull out

Wylfa B would have employed 800 people full time Photo: ITV News Wales

The companies behind the plans to build a new nucleur power station on Anglesey have confirmed they are pulling out of the project. E.on say that following a strategic review it will not proceed with plans for the Horizon Nuclear Power project with RWE npower.

The companies are also withdrawing from a project to construct a new nuclear power station at Oldbury-on-Severn in Gloucestershire. The companies recently indicating that they were concerned about possible cost overruns as seen at other nuclear projects in Europe. They say they will instead look to find a new owner for the Horizon partnership and will focus on other strategic projects that will deliver earlier benefit for customers and the company.

Our commitment to the UK remains as strong as ever and as our track record shows, with over £1bn of investment in the last year alone, we will continue to select the right projects in which to invest.

– Dr Tony Cocker, Chief Executive of E.ON UK

We would like to thank the communities around Wylfa and Oldbury, the business partners we have worked with during development, and everyone who has shown support for our development work. It is because of the strength of support for our development work, particularly on the island of Anglesey, that we continue to believe that nuclear power has an important role to play in the UK's future energy mix.

– Volker Beckers, chief executive of RWE npower

Managers from E.ON, RWE npower and Horizon informed staff at the business' headquarters near Gloucester this morning.

The Nuclear Industry Association, say the announcement by the Horizon Joint Venture partners is the consequence of the commercial realities them. But say the companies have made it clear that the decision is not a reflection on the quality of the Wylfa site or on the investment opportunities that nuclear new-build offers. They say they are confident that other investors will emerge to carry on the Horizon project.

The Welsh Secretary, Cheryl Gillan says she remains convinced that Wylfa is the prime site for the next generation of nuclear power stations.

Anglesey has nearly 50 years of experience of the nuclear industry and has developed skills that are second to none. This gives me confidence that the site at Wylfa will be attractive to other investors. I have spoken to RWE on the rationale for this commercial decision, and I plan to meet them at the earliest opportunity.

– Cheryl Gillan, Welsh Secretary

Wylfa B was expected to create 5,000 jobs during construction and 800 full time jobs afterwards. The planned nuclear power plant on Anglesey would have generated up to 6,000 megawatts by 2025.

The two German companies say they will now look for alternative investors to advance the work of Horizon Nuclear Power.

News that Horizon have pulled out of a new nuclear build at Wylfa B on Anglesey has been described as a big blow by Sasha Wyn Davies who heads up the Energy Island programme. She said Anglesey has the best site in the UK for nuclear new build, it makes commercial sense and will happen.

Businesses have been reacting to the withdrawal of E.on and RWE npower from the plans. ITV Wales Business Club member PFS Engineering in Holyhead said it will be a big setback for the island and the company. It was planning to grow the business in the long term on the back of the new build.

People who have campaigned against plans for a new nuclear power station on Anglesey have welcomed the news, saying that it is “pure fantasy economics” that a new investor would replace Horizon.

We’ve said all along the economics won’t work. We’ve argued against the technology, the Nuclear Industry has issues with dealing with the current waste, and in the last year following the disaster in Japan our arguments have resonated with the public.

– Dylan Morgan, PAWB

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