Business / Corporate

Hitachi requests support from British Prime Minister Theresa May for Welsh nuclear plant construction

Kyodo

Hitachi Ltd. on Thursday asked the British government to provide more support for a Welsh nuclear project amid swelling construction costs, according to sources.

Meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May at her office in London, Hitachi Chairman Hiroaki Nakanishi made the request, asking for direct investment from the U.K. government, the sources said.

The Japanese maker of machinery and infrastructure systems had applied for a site license to build two advanced boiling water reactors on the Isle of Anglesey in Wales, aiming to start operation early next decade.

But the total price tag of the project has ballooned to ¥3 trillion ($27.52 billion) due to increased costs for safety measures. Should talks between the parties prove difficult, Hitachi may withdraw from the project.

Hitachi acquired Britain’s Horizon Nuclear Power Ltd. in 2012 as part of a strategy to boost its nuclear power business abroad.

In 2016, Tokyo and London signed a memorandum of understanding to closely cooperate in the nuclear field, a move that would help Japanese companies build nuclear reactors in Britain.

The memorandum covers four areas — reactor decommissioning and decontamination, research and development, security, and construction of new reactors.