Hitachi-owned Horizon Nuclear Power has signed an agreement with the UK government that will support financing of a new nuclear power plant at Wylfa in north Wales. Contracts have also been signed with three suppliers for consultancy and technical design activities.

The government confirmed it has entered into a cooperation agreement with Hitachi and Horizon with the aim of being able to agree an "in-principle guarantee" for the financing of the new station by the end of 2016. The agreement is "subject to final due diligence and ministerial approval," it said.

The agreement was signed with the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander at the launch of the Government’s UK Infrastructure plan 2013 on 4 December 2013.

Contacts for AMEC, Atkins and Cavendish Nuclear

Horizon has also signed three important framework contracts with three UK-based Tier 1 suppliers for the provision of engineering and related technical services.

The successful lead suppliers – AMEC, Atkins and Cavendish Nuclear – and their supply chains will be working collaboratively with Horizon for the next three years on consultancy and technical design activities for Wylfa Newydd.

The frameworks cover support in the following areas: development and planning, site investigations, engineering support, environmental permitting and waste management, as well as planning and project management support.

"These contracts underline our aspiration to become a leading new nuclear utility company and demonstrate real momentum," said Horizon Chief Operating Officer Alan Raymant.

"The signing of these contracts also highlights our commitment to working with UK suppliers where possible."

The Wylfa Newydd project envisages the construction of at least two 1300 MW GE-Hitachi Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWRs). The design is currently undergoing the UK licensing process, known as the generic design assessment. Phase II of the GDA, which gives an overview of basic acceptability of the ABWR reactor design construction in the UK, is expected to begin in January 2014.

As part of a separate process, Horizon has also selected AMEC, Atkins and Cavendish Nuclear to provide regulatory licensing and safety case support.

Hitachi and Horizon said they "expect to have the full range of licences and permissions for the first project, Wylfa Newydd, in place by 2018." The plant is expected to come online in the first half of the 2020s, Horizon said.


Photo: One magnox reactor is currently in operation at Wylfa (Source: Magnox Ltd)