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Hitachi gets green for U.K. reactors

Bloomberg

Hitachi Ltd. has gained access to a U.K. loan guarantee to build two nuclear reactors in Wales as the British government promotes a new generation of atomic power projects.

Horizon Nuclear Power, Tokyo-based Hitachi’s U.K. atomic unit, plans reactors at Wylfa in North Wales totaling at least 2,700 megawatts, sufficient to supply about 3 million homes, it said Wednesday in a statement.

The guarantee will support financing, subject to due diligence and ministerial approval, the Treasury said in a separate statement on its infrastructure plans.

Renewing the nuclear industry is central to Prime Minister David Cameron’s plans for generating low-carbon power as all but one of Britain’s atomic plants are due to close by 2023. The accord follows an agreement by the U.K. for a 35-year contract with Electricite de France SA for power from reactors it’s planning at Hinkley Point in southwest England that included support from the Treasury’s loan guarantee program.

“Today’s offer of a U.K. guarantee is sure to be viewed by international investors, especially in China and Japan, as a sign that Britain is well and truly one of the most attractive European investment environments,” George Borovas, head of international nuclear projects at law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, said in an emailed statement.

The support will help attract debt and equity for the Wylfa venture, scheduled to generate power in the first half of the 2020s, Hitachi said.

Hitachi and Horizon expect to get project licenses and approvals by 2018.