Written By: Kevin Dunne
The future of energy in Great Britain is looking bright after Hitachi agreed to pay $1.12 billion to buy Horizon Nuclear Power on the 30th. The Japanese company also plans on purchasing German companies, E.On and RWE, in the near future. The BBC reports that British Prime Minister David Cameron calls the deal, “a decades-long, multi-billion pound vote of confidence in the U.K.” The deal is expected to boost many things, most notably the economy.
Horizon Nuclear Power has several plants in the works, which Hitachi plans on completing. 12,000 jobs are estimated to be created in the process of building the plants, hiring, and training workers. Many are also optimistic that the plants will solve the energy supply issue that the country faces. Hitachi plans on building 6 plants, with the first one being constructed within the first half of the coming decade. Construction plans have already been made, despite several major obstacles that have already risen. The chief obstacle that would hinder the plants’ construction, the BBC points out, is that the water-boiling system that Hitachi wants to install hasn’t been approved safe by the U.K. Several other ambiguities persist, including the fact that it is unclear who would operate the plants, what the minimum price for nuclear power would be, and what the total cost would be to construct all 6 plants.
These issues are expected to be touched on next month in the Energy Bill, which the government has proposed. Energy Minister John Hayes says the bill will “ensure energy security by providing investors like Hitachi with the certainty they need, and to get the best deal for the consumer.” With plant shutdowns scheduled in the near future, many fear that the massive amount of legislation that comes with building the plants will push expected construction dates back. In addition, the plants aren’t expected to churn out power until 2020, which is when many plants are expected to be closed down. This frightening energy gap has many worried about Great Britain’s future.
The BBC writes that Tatsuro Ishizuka, VP of Hitachi, “acknowledges that the company is taking a risk, though given that Hitachi knows how to build advanced boiling water reactors and that it now owns the land on which to build them, he is firmly optimistic.” Despite the increased anti-nuclear attitude some have adopted and all of the obstacles to cross, many remain confident and hopeful that this deal will solve many problems the U.K. faces and strengthen ties with Japan.