by Andy Bates - Nuclear South West
Following the decision by Hitachi to suspend all its UK projects, people are naturally asking what it means for our cluster here in South West England and what impact will it have?
The short answer is that there will be some very visible short term impacts but it remains to be seen what solutions can be found at policy level over the coming months.
There’s no doubt the immediate impact is being felt by our colleagues in Horizon Power based in Gloucestershire, with Duncan Hawthorne CEO of Horizon Power stating that “Clearly this will have a significant impact for all involved with our project. We will look to minimise this as much as possible as we move into this next phase and we will begin consultation on the implications immediately with our staff who have shown extraordinary talent, resilience and determination to take this complex and exciting project to this stage.”
Even with the additional announcement to halt development of the Oldbury on Severn site in South Gloucestershire, Nuclear South West has identified £50bn of opportunities over the next 25 years, with Nuclear energy remaining the only solution for truly reliable, independent baseload generation that supports our country's commitment to a low carbon future.
Here in the South West, we have the highest number of licensed sites in the UK and the nuclear industry remains buoyant, with strong progress in Hinkley Point C, Magnox and the Defence nuclear estate.
EDF Energy is progressing well with their plans for Sizewell C in East Suffolk, having reached the third stage of public consultation with local communities. This will be the sister plant to Hinkley Point C and Nuclear South West is working closely with colleagues in East Suffolk on a range of knowledge exchange and supply chain initiatives.
It’s also worth noting that GCN, EDF Energy’s long standing Chinese partner has recently appointed a new CEO for its Bradwell B project in Essex, as the company continues the process of technical assessments in order to inform their emerging proposals.
In summary, the South West region is well placed to take of advantage of an existing pipeline of opportunities worth hundreds of millions of pounds in areas including world class research, new build, decommissioning and defence, with Nuclear South West continuing to work with employers industry and public stakeholders, to ensure everyone benefits from these opportunities.