Unions’ concern as Hitachi pulls out of Wylfa nuclear project

Unions have expressed their concern over Hitachi pulling out of the Wylfa nuclear project on Anglesey.

The Japanese firm has indicated it intends to withdraw from the £20bn project, casting doubt on its the future.

Prospect senior deputy general secretary Sue Ferns said: “This decision from Hitachi is a serious blow to the economy of North Wales and for our chances of hitting Net Zero.  It is another lost opportunity to provide good quality jobs for people who so desperately need them.

“If we are remotely serious about hitting our carbon reduction targets as a country then we need to invest now in proven low carbon technologies, including new nuclear.

“The stark reality is that without replacement nuclear capacity the country faces a potential energy gap of 9-21% at peak winter times.

“The TUC yesterday reaffirmed its commitment to new nuclear as part of a low carbon energy future. It is time for the government to do the same by publishing the Energy White Paper and taking immediate practical steps to support nuclear development, including finding and supporting a new developer for the prime site at Wylfa, and getting properly behind Sizewell C.”

GMB national secretary Justin Bowden said: “This utterly predictable announcement from Hitachi is outcome of successive government failures to act decisively around new nuclear, and in particular how it is financed.  New nuclear is vital in achieving decarbonisation – especially when teamed up with hydrogen.

“It’s no coincidence that around the world – almost without exception – it’s governments who finance these projects, as they are the lender of last resort when it comes to keeping the lights on.

“The fanciful experiment of trying to get foreign companies or governments to fund our future energy needs leaves most ordinary citizens in this country bewildered.”

Unite Wales Secretary Peter Hughes said: “This is devastating news for the Welsh economy and in particular that of North West Wales. The future regeneration on the region has been based upon the bedrock that Wylfa Newydd would proceed.

“Hitachi withdrawing from Wylfa is confirmation that this landmark development is dead and buried. This is a hammer blow to the future prospects of some of most economically deprived communities in the whole of Wales.

Successive Conservative Governments must shoulder a massive share of the blame for today’s news. They never fully committed themselves to pushing through Wylfa Newydd. Yet again when it comes to standing up for Wales and supporting landmark infrastructure projects here they have failed miserably”.

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