Nuclear power majors RWE, E.ON abandon plans for new UK reactors

Source: RWE npower 

Wylfa Nuclear Power Station- Horizon Nuclear Power, an E.ON and RWE joint venture, announced in 2009 intentions to install about 3,000 MWe of new nuclear plant at Wylfa. Horizon was considering building either Areva EPR or Westinghouse AP1000 reactors at a site to the south of the existing Wylfa station. Following a strategic review, separately carried out by both parent companies, RWE npower and E.ON UK announced they would not proceed to develop new nuclear power projects in the UK through the Horizon joint venture. The Horizon joint venture was established with the goal of developing up to 6,000 MW of new nuclear power capacity in the UK by 2025. 

RWE and E.ON will now focus on finding a new owner for Horizon Nuclear Power. Both parties will endeavor to ensure that Horizon’s assets and work on development can be taken up quickly by other potential investors.

A number of factors have changed since the formation of Horizon in 2009: 

•The global economic crisis has meant that capital for major projects is at a premium and nuclear power projects are particularly large scale, with very long lead times and payback periods; 

•The effect of the accelerated nuclear phase out in Germany, which has led to RWE adopting a number of measures, including divestments, a capital increase, efficiency enhancements and a leaner capital expenditure budget.

A combination of these strategic factors, together with the significant ongoing costs of running the Horizon joint venture, has led to a situation where capital investment plans have been reviewed.

A strategic decision has therefore been made by both RWE and E.ON that they will not develop new nuclear power projects in the UK through the Horizon joint venture.

Senior figures from RWE, E.ON and Horizon informed Horizon staff of the decision at its headquarters near Gloucester this morning.

Volker Beckers, CEO, RWE npower, said,  “We remain convinced that Horizon’s development projects represent excellent sites for new nuclear power stations in the UK, and we would like to express our sincere thanks to the Horizon employees for their hard work in bringing the projects to this stage of development. We would also 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. We are therefore looking to ensure that work on development, including grid connection, can be taken up quickly by other potential investors.”

“RWE npower has more than 12,000 employees and has invested more than three times its profits in the UK over recent years. We remain committed to the need for significant investment in low carbon energy technologies. RWE has invested over £1.2 billion into new renewable energy in Britain over the last three years, and more than £1.6 billion into new, highly efficient, flexible gas-fired power stations over the same period. In the same period, RWE has been one of the largest investor in Wales in any sector.”


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