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Companies

Hitachi to exit stalled UK nuclear plant project

Plan had stalled due to funding problems

A shopper rides an escalator past a logo of Hitachi at an electronics retail store in Tokyo.    © Reuters

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Hitachi is considering withdrawing its 3 trillion yen ($28 billion) plan to build a nuclear power plant in Britain, sources familiar with the matter said Tuesday, with additional support from the British government to continue the project looking unlikely.

The project to construct two nuclear reactors on the island of Anglesey in north Wales was suspended in January 2019 due to difficulty in securing funds.

The freezing of the plan was an effective exit, but Hitachi did not rule out the possibility of reviving it if the project could receive additional funding support.

The project, involving Hitachi subsidiary Horizon Nuclear Power, increased 1.5-fold from the original estimate to 3 trillion yen due to ballooning safety-related costs.

Negotiations with the British government have produced little progress, with one of the sources close to Hitachi attributing the stalemate also to the coronavirus pandemic and Britain's exit from the European Union.

The latest move marks a severe blow to efforts by Tokyo to promote infrastructure exports as a key driver of economic growth. Opposition to nuclear power generation remains strong in Japan following the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

Toshiba, another Japanese company with large power infrastructure operations, has withdrawn from its U.S. nuclear power business.

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