E.ON and RWE npower have withdrawn from Horizon Nuclear Power, an equal joint venture aimed at developing a new generation of nuclear power stations in Britain.
Alternative investors will now be sought to advance Horizon Nuclear Power’s plan to deliver around 6,000MW of new nuclear power station capacity by 2025 at sites in Wylfa and Oldbury. Both projects would require more than £15bn of investment.
E.ON said in a statement that its decision was made following a full review and against the backdrop of the wider group’s financial constraints. The company will now focus on what it describes as other strategic projects.
Prof Dame Sue Ion, a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said: ‘Not only is new nuclear build stalling, but investment is stalling generally across the energy industry, including the major investment needed for offshore wind projects.
‘Large amounts of capital require large amounts of cash and the recession, especially in Europe, is making access to cash difficult. Companies are very risk averse and worry about the continuity of energy policy and, particularly for renewables, the longevity of subsidies.
‘This decision will bring home to the government how challenging it is when investment decisions are left entirely to the market. We are now in a position where investment by UK utilities in the UK is being affected by decisions taken overseas.’