US firms said to be in talks for Wylfa Newydd project

10 November 2020

A US consortium of Bechtel, Southern Company and Westinghouse is in talks with the British government about reviving the Wylfa Newydd nuclear power plant project in north Wales by building AP1000 reactors at the site on Anglesey. Citing an unnamed source, the Financial Times said today that discussions about Wylfa began after the US consortium contacted the British government in September, expressing its wish to take over the project.

AP1000s under construction as Vogtle 3 and 4 in Waynesboro, USA (Image: Georgia Power)

Horizon Nuclear Power, the UK project developer owned by Japan’s Hitachi, was to develop two UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor units at Wylfa, but on 16 September Hitachi announced it will end its business operations on the project, which it had suspended in January 2019.

The source told the Financial Times that the consortium's plans could deliver power to the electricity grid on both a similar timescale to that proposed by Horizon and at "a market competitive price" per megawatt hour, despite switching to a different reactor technology.

"A deal over Wylfa would be dependent on the UK government introducing a new funding model for large nuclear projects in the UK and the US consortium striking an agreement to acquire the site on Anglesey from Hitachi, which spent about GBP2 billion (USD2.6 billion) on developing the Wylfa project," the newspaper said.

A decision on planning consent for the project was due to be made on 30 September, but Horizon successfully requested that this be delayed until 31 December.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected in the coming weeks to give a speech setting out a 10-point plan for how the UK will meet its net zero by 2050 target.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News