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Hitachi boss delivers warning on Welsh nuclear power plant

Hitachi Chairman Hiroaki Nakanishi says the company still has concerns about the financing ofà‚  Wylfa Newydd‘s nuclear power plant project in Wales.

He said it is vital for the à‚£8bn project that a subsidy deal can be worked out with the UK government, and has expressed concerns about the project’s costs to Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond.
Hiroaki Nakanishi
Hitachi owns Horizon Nuclear Power which is behind the plans to build the new power plant, which could be operational by the early 2020s.

Horizon is in talks with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) on issues such as the strike price, which will be key to attracting additional finance.

Mr Nakanishi said Hitachi had set out “very fair conditions for the making of our investment”, but could only commit to a deal it believed was viable.

The challenges associated with Hinkley Point C are being scrutinised by the company.

“Hinkley Point [raises questions] about what are the real solutions for setting up financial support,” he told the Daily Telegraph. “We need to arrange a financial plan for which the kind of money needed can be introduced.

“DECC worries about the stability of the scheduled construction of the [Hinkley Point] nuclear power plant, so some of the conditions – the credit requirements – those kind of things may affect us.”

“In order to set up the financial conditions [to build Hinkley], Chinese capital was introduced, but what the real result will be – we have a very serious concern about that.”

Asked if Hitachi might step back if it believed a viable deal was not on the table, Mr Nakanishi replied: “Yes”.

Despite Nakanishi’s concerns, Alan Raymant, chief operating officer of Horizon, said Wylfa talks were “progressing rapidly with the solid backing of Hitachi”.

Raymant told Power Engineering International, “Our plans for Wylfa Newydd are progressing rapidly with the solid backing of Hitachi.à‚  We’ve always said we need further finance for the construction phase and we’re confident we can achieve that. Our chosen reactor’s unique track record of delivery is very important, but we also need to put in place future revenue and funding arrangements which are right for this project.à‚  We’ve begun positive discussions with the Government and we’re very confident we can get to a solution that works for all sides including UK consumers.”