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E.ON and RWE withdraw from Horizon nuclear power venture

E.ON and RWE npower have withdrawn from Horizon Nuclear Power, an equal joint venture aimed at developing a new generation of nuclear power stations in Britain.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.’


Readers' comments (8)

  • This is not good news. Remember the Government's promise that everyone is to be linked up to a faster Broadband to facilitate more computer reliance? Great in theory but what powers computers or hand held device chargers - electricity. We are already informed that wind and wave power will not supply anything near the electrical needs envisaged in 12 years time. Coal powered generating stations are being closed because of the inability to produce power that is environmentally friendly so we have to have nuclear to fill the gap and the magic 12 year deadline is not likely to be met. In comes the Government's committee who are trained to sit on their hands and take no decisions so that when things go wrong they will not be blamed. The Eon and RWE pullout will make sure the 12 year deadline is not met and we will have to rely on outdated nuclear generation with all its inherent dangers and today's committee members, who could have fixed it, will have long gone from office by then so they can't be blamed. So what do we do? Do we leave this ineffectual bunch of short sighted apprentices in charge or is there "light at the end of the tunnel" from another source? Grim times ahead.

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  • (We are now in a position where investment by UK utilities in the UK is being affected by decisions taken overseas.’)

    What UK utilities ??
    I thought most of our big stuff had been sold/given away to other countries by successive governments, water, gas, electric, phones, railways, steel, banks……..please tell me I’m wrong.

    As a country we haven’t made a sensible decision in years !!
    The lunatics are running the asylum.

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  • This has a major impact on the UK economy in the near term and in 10 years when the lights start to go out!

    Has the German government put pressure on these companies to withdraw from these programmes?

    Retribution for not supporting the Euro-project? A strategy to control the UK economy & influence?

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  • This is such fantastic news for the UK. I hope never to hear 'new nuclear' in the UK again.
    Now we have a real chance of moving to the endgame.
    It was interesting to hear reported that the companies did not have the capital and that the French government said they had been subsidising their nuclear industry all along. Speaks loads.
    Lets move forward with an intelligent Eurogrid supported by all the renewables. We can do it.

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  • This is incredibly bad news. Today, because of the mere threat of a tanker drivers strike, I can't even get petrol to mow my lawn. Not much chance then of getting fuel to run a generator when we run out of power in the next decade or so. It is hard to believe that anyone can think that we can fill the gap with renewables alone.

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  • This is bad news, it's undeniable. There have been rumours of other companies wobbling on their new build plans but hopefully these are just reactionary. At the moment, from what we're seeing on our (admittedly new) careers site and from talking directly to large employers, they have roles and regardless of the new build projects, nuclear will continue needing skills for a few years to come.

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  • Having just read the item about converting CO2 into the liquid fuel isobutanol, using electricity, I am even more sure that we need new nuclear, and the sooner the better. It is not the first, and it won’t be the last report of this type, but the common thread is always the need for an energy source. Here is a synergy that will, in future, allow the very worthy use of spare capacity during Off-peak hours for harvest and conversion of CO2 into a substitute for fossil reserves. That is when New Nuclear will reveal itself as really green technology, and not part of the charade that is wind farming.

    The guys that turn down new nuclear are also turning down the future. If they know the way back to 1962, then please share it. Otherwise, stop trying to block the real way into the future that the rest of us must follow.

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  • Two nuclear plants generating 6GW total cost £15Bn, before construction cost over-runs (is that each or combined?). At £3/W installed & falling, with free fuel, 6GW of offshore wind at £18Bn, even without the risk of terrorist-pirates floating a burning oil tanker into them and poisoning my kids country for millenia, & ignoring the cost of storing 000's of tons of toxic waste for 000's of years, looks attractive! Wind's day has come sooner than expected & its good to see EOn and RWE wake-up to that reality.

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