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Hitachi names Bechtel as manager for UK nuclear project

Japanese builder clarifies roles to tamp down costs

Pylons are seen outside the Wylfa nuclear power station in Wales. Hitachi's U.K. nuclear plant project has seen rising costs.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japanese industrial group Hitachi seeks to rein in the ballooning cost of its British nuclear power plant project by naming a manager and clarifying the roles performed by the company and its partners.

U.S. engineering company Bechtel will serve as a project manager for the proposed Wylfa Newydd power plant from now on, overseeing design, construction and cost control, while Hitachi and Japanese plant builder JGC will handle design and construction, Hitachi said on Wednesday.

Hitachi is building two reactors on the Welsh island of Anglesey through U.K. subsidiary Horizon Nuclear Power. Before the reorganization of roles, Hitachi, JGC and Bechtel had been undertaking the project as three-way joint venture.

The new arrangement is designed to let Horizon reduce costs on the Wylfa project by placing orders directly for turbines and other equipment.

The U.K. government has urged Hitachi to curb project costs, which have risen to an estimated 3 trillion yen ($27 billion), well above the initially projected 2 trillion yen, as nuclear safety regulations have grown tighter.

The U.K. will loan more than 2 trillion yen of the total costs to Hitachi under an agreement reached in June.

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