Hitachi opts for smaller UK nuclear plant with two units

LONDON Fri Nov 15, 2013 12:42pm GMT

A sample of Hitachi's lighting equipment is seen at an electronics shop in Tokyo October 27, 2012. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

A sample of Hitachi's lighting equipment is seen at an electronics shop in Tokyo October 27, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Toru Hanai

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LONDON (Reuters) - Japan's Hitachi has opted to build a smaller nuclear power plant in Britain in deciding to construct two instead of three Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWR) at its UK site at Wylfa in Wales, the company said on Friday.

Hitachi last year bought the Horizon nuclear power project in Britain from German utilities E.ON and RWE and said at the time it intended to build two or three reactors at each of the two Horizon sites at Wylfa and Oldbury.

"Designs are being worked up for two ABWR units as part of a single power station at the Wylfa Newydd site," Hitachi's Horizon said in a statement.

Two ABWR units at Wylfa will have a combined capacity of 2,600 megawatts.

Horizon still expects to build 2-3 units at the Oldbury site, a spokesman said.

This reduces the maximum capacity from Hitachi's two new power stations to 6,500 MW, equal to around 9 percent of Britain's current installed capacity.

The use of Hitachi's ABWR design in new power plants is pending approval from the UK nuclear regulator under the so-called generic design assessment (GDA).

The regulator started the process in January and it is expected to take around four years.

Britain has an ambitious target to replace its ageing nuclear power plants by the middle of the next decade.

The government last month announced a deal to guarantee a minimum power price for the country's first new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point, developed by France's EDF.

The Hinkley Point C project will have a 3,200 MW capacity.

(Reporting by Karolin Schaps; editing by David Evans)