Major step forward for nuclear bid
PLANS to build a massive new nuclear power station in South Gloucestershire have taken a big step forward. Horizon Nuclear Power, the firm behind the scheme, has welcomed news that the Government has started formally assessing the new technology behind the scheme.
An in-depth evaluation of the Japanese technology that will be used at the Oldbury Plant has been launched by the Department of Energy and Climate Control.
The formal process, known as a Generic Design Assessment, is used by the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency, to look at the safety, security and environmental implications of any new reactor designs.
Horizon Nuclear Power, the company formed to carry out the development project in Oldbury, along with another scheme at Wylfa in Anglesey in North Wales, welcomed the announcement as a "major step forward".
Horizon is owned by Hitachi and its nuclear technology has already been used in power plants in Japan.
Horizon Chief Operating Officer Alan Raymant said: "This is a major step forward at an early time in Hitachi's ownership of Horizon.
"GDA is one of the key processes necessary to allow development of new nuclear power stations at Wylfa and Oldbury."
He added: "GDA is a rigorous and demanding process that ensures the safety case for the technology is robust. We are committed to supporting Hitachi and developing Horizon's expertise throughout the process. This is proven technology which we believe will bring significant benefits to the UK. We look forward to setting out more detail on our strategy and programme in the next few months."
Horizon Nuclear Power was set up in 2009 to develop new nuclear power stations in the UK, and was put up for sale by its founders in March of last year. The company was acquired by Hitachi in November who announced it was pushing ahead with the nuclear project as soon as possible.
The project is expected to create 1,000 new permanent jobs along with 6,000 construction jobs while building work is carried out to make the plant four times its current size.
There is the belief that the project will trigger an economic boom in the area around the Severn Channel. Tim Davies, head of the Bristol office of property firm Colliers International, said it will lead to a dramatic increase in business.
The new power station is expected to generate power equivalent to up to 14 million homes over 60 years. Hitachi has also signed supply chain deals with UK engineering firms Rolls-Royce and Babcock International and has pledged to establish a factory.