Hitachi secures UK nuclear project Horizon with £700m

HITACHI, Japan’s largest industrial electronics maker, last night secured the deal for British nuclear new-build project Horizon,

Hitachi is believed to have offered in the region of £700m to secure the project – more than double the sum analysts had predicted.

Hitachi, along with Canadian counterparty SNC-Lavalin, and Westinghouse plus its parent company Toshiba, are all believed to have made bids for Horizon.

Horizon, which plans to build 6 gigawatts (GW) of nuclear capacity, was put up for sale by its owners, German utilities E.ON and RWE, in March, as Germany’s decision to pull out of nuclear power hurt their finances.

Germany last year said it would end nuclear energy use by 2022.

Hitachi is expected to hold a board meeting today to approve the deal and officially announce it.

The UK government plans huge growth in its nuclear industry, with new power stations expected to come on line by 2025 to replace ageing plants, but it has faced various stumbling blocks, including the Fukushima nuclear crisis delaying licensing and making projects more costly.

Hitachi, which has two nuclear power joint ventures with US-based General Electric Co and earns just under 10 per cent of revenues from its power systems segment, releases financial results today.