Hitachi, Ltd. decides to withdraw from UK nuclear power plant construction plan

Hitachi, Ltd. decides to withdraw from UK nuclear power plant construction plan September 16 at 8:50 p.m.

Hitachi has decided to withdraw from plans to build a nuclear power plant in the UK. The government’s growth strategy of securing revenue streams and inheriting technology for Japanese companies operating nuclear power projects through the construction of nuclear power plants overseas is also in a difficult phase.
According to the announcement, Hitachi decided at its Board of Directors meeting on June 16 to withdraw from the planned construction of a nuclear power plant on Anglesey Island, central England.

Regarding the plan, Hitachi said in January last year that it would freeze its participation in the plan, cause costs had swelled due to safety measures and other measures and it was not possible to ensure the profitability of the business.

Since then, I have been calling on the British government to expand its support, but after more than a year and a half without progress in negotiations, I decided to withdraw because of the spread of the new coronavirus, which made it difficult to raise funds.

Hitachi said it had posted related losses at the time of the freeze, and that the impact of the withdrawal on future business results was minor.

This plan has been part of the government’s growth strategy to secure revenue streams and inherit technology for Japanese companies that are working on nuclear power projects by constructing nuclear power plants overseas.

However, with Hitachi’s withdrawal, the overseas business of Japanese companies will be virtually eliminated, and the government’s strategy is also in a difficult phase.

Experts: “We should consider how to maintain our technical capabilities”

Regarding Hitachi’s decision to withdraw from its nuclear power plant construction plan in the UK and other plans for nuclear power plant exports by domestic manufacturers, Mr. Minoru Miyano, a visiting professor at Hosei University who once served as chief engineer at a nuclear power plant manufacturer and is well-knowledgeed about nuclear technology, said, “There are no new construction plans in Japan after the Fukushima accident. When involved in construction, it is possible to improve safety-critical equipment such as reactor vessels and control rods, as well as technical capabilities such as predicting the impact of earthquakes, but when the opportunity decreases, the power of engineers at manufacturers decreases. Technical skills can’t be learned in one morning or one evening. With the aging of engineers and the fear of technology succession, the government and manufacturers should consider how to maintain their technologies as opportunities for nuclear power plant construction decrease in Japan and overseas.”

UK government “consults new projects with companies and investors”

“It’s very disappointing news,” the British government said in a comment today about Hitachi’s decision to withdraw from plans to build a nuclear power plant in the UK. The UK has focused on this project because nuclear power plays an important role in the UK’s future energy composition.”

On that basis, he stressed his plan to proceed with plans to build a new nuclear power plant, which is a challenge due to the aging of nuclear power plants, as “we would like to continue to discuss new projects with companies and investors who want to build in the UK, including North Wales, where Hitachi has decided to withdraw.”