On the 12th March 2014 John Gilbert, Horizon Nuclear Power Head of Strategy and Development, delivered a very interesting and enlightening talk.
He initially provided a brief history of Horizon before moving on to reveal the way they were planning to deliver a nuclear power capabilities adjoining
the existing Wylfa and Olbury Sites.
Horizon was formed in January 2009 as a joint venture between the two German power companies, EON and RWE, with a view to providing New Nuclear power
generation for the UK. However, Horizon was put up for sale following Germany's political decision to run down its nuclear generation industry following
the Japanese tsunami and resulting Fukushima accident coupled with the economic recession. It was acquired by Hitachi Ltd in November 2012 with a view to
creating a market for their products and in the firm belief that they have a solution that can be provide capacity to cost and time.
As part of the British Governments growing realization that to meet its greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments and maintain an adequate electricity
supply Nuclear Power would have to be a part of the generation mix, eight of the historic, Government owned, nuclear sites were identified as having
the key factors necessary for the successful development as new nuclear sites. These factors were:-
Supportive Geology and Geography
National Grid Connectivity
Access to Estuary (cooling water and transport)
These eight sites were put up for tender and two, Oldbury and Wylfa, were acquired by Horizon. Olbury in the Severn Estuary is now decommissioned and Wylfa
on Anglesey, North Wales is the last remaining operational Magnox station. Horizon has acquired additional land adjoining each of these two sites to
enable the preparation for and construction of new nuclear stations.
Hitachi are intending to install at least 5,400 MW across the two sites in a multi-billion pound development programme. There is currently a team of around
150 staff working on the programme but this will increase to 400 as work progresses. Construction will be contracted out to a consortium of contractors
lead by Hitachi-GE. Following successful commissioning it is likely that Hitachi will seek to pass the management and running of the operational site
to a commercial operator.
Wylfa will be Horizon's lead site where two Hitachi UK-Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (UK-ABWR) will be built. The work on the Oldbury site will be
phased to follow Wylfa allowing full advantage to be taken of the lessons learnt.
Wylfa is expected to be producing power in the early to mid 2020s and to that end the long term programme is under development including such key factors
as optimisation of construction /financing strategy and supply chain readying.
The ABWR is a proven technology which has been licensed for use in Japan, Taiwan and the USA. There are eight in operation with more currently under
construction. The design is considered to be safe, reliable and can be built and run economically and this will be reviewed in depth within the
UK approval process.
The UK General Design Assessment is currently underway and all permissions and consultations are targeted to reach completion by 2017. The main
construction at Wylfa will begin once all the permissions and conditions are in place around the end of 2018. For further information see
Hitachi will supply the reactor components from Japan but at least 60% of the construction costs will be spent in the UK and about 1000 permanent high
quality jobs directly associated with the facility will be generated with many knock-on jobs in the surrounding local economy. Up to 6000 jobs will be
created during the peak of the construction phase.
Horizon were considerably heartened by the terms of the agreement between the EDF Group and UK Government on key commercial terms for Hinckley Point
C and are pressing ahead with their plans on the supposition that similar terms will be made available to Horizon.
As is usual with Club meetings, the talk was followed by tea and biscuits during which members were afforded the opportunity to talk to