UK nuclear investment could increase demand for pressure vessels

31 October 2012

Posted by Michelle Devonshire

A new deal that will see further investment in the UK's nuclear power industry is likely to increase demand for pressure vessels in the country.

Hitachi has been named as the buyer of the Horizon project, which will see reactors constructed at two sites in Britain.

The Japanese electronics company is purchasing the scheme from E.ON and RWE and preliminary agreements have been signed with Rolls-Royce and Babcock International that could see the firms join the project.

Hitachi has announced that the transaction is scheduled to reach completion by the end of November, with the company paying £696 million for the Horizon venture.

Owners E.ON and RWE announced in March this year that they planned to sell the nuclear project, which is expected to see plants built at Oldbury in Gloucestershire and Wylfa on Anglesey.

Power could be generated at the sites from the first half of the 2020s and Hitachi has declared it is making a "100-year commitment to the UK".

Union GMB welcomed the deal as creating new employment opportunities in the manufacturing and construction industries, with the organization's National Secretary for Energy, Gary Smith, declaring that action also needs to be taken to cover caps in generating capacity over the next decade, before the Horizon sites come online.

"Like renewables nuclear isn't cheap and it is important that communities in the UK get something back from the massive investment in the energy infrastructure by way of skilled jobs," he declared.

It is essential that tight standards are followed regarding pressure vessels at the new nuclear facilities, as the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan resulted in a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant after pressure vessels in its reactors were damaged by the disaster.

Hitachi has been working on the development of nuclear power technologies since 1957, including the creation of safe and reliable equipment such as reactors and pressure vessels.

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