Japanese firm Hitachi’s decision to halt its Wylfa Newydd project on Anglesey was described as a ‘tremendous blow’ to the north Wales economy.

About 9,000 workers had been expected to build the £13bn plant.

But economy secretary Ken Skates told the North Wales Economic Ambition Board he wanted UK government help too.

Speaking at an emergency meeting on Monday, he told delegates at the event in Llangefni, Anglesey that the Welsh Government was willing to contribute more finance to a growth deal for north Wales but he wanted the UK government “to contribute more as well”.

However he added the discussion was “about more than just the cash”.

He said: “It’s about making sure we don’t lose the momentum on Wylfa Newydd and we go on finding ways of ensuring the resilience of the north Wales economy is strengthened.”

With plans for the nuclear power station “paused” for a number of years, Mr Skates said: “In that environment we need to ensure that people who are being skilled up and the businesses that were preparing for the Wylfa Newydd project have alternative opportunities to get work.

“That’s why it’s so important we work together as team north Wales . . . in identifying as many ways to maintain the good momentum we have built up.”

The North Wales Economic Ambition Board is made up of private and public organisations, colleges, universities and business leaders from across north Wales, working with the Welsh Government to encourage business investment.

It said it fully supported a new nuclear station, adding in a statement: “The board would like to make it clear the decision to suspend work on Wylfa Newydd will in no way impact on any projects in the North Wales Growth Deal.

“Those projects stand alone with approved business cases and will be crucial to the further economic prosperity of the area.”

Llinos Medi, leader of Anglesey council, said the board wanted to ensure that Anglesey remained seen as the prime location for a new nuclear power station to be built in the UK.

Further education college Coleg Menai has 700 engineering students, many hoping to take advantage of opportunities from Wylfa and its supply chain.

The college confirmed its 30 Horizon apprentices would be funded to finish their three-year courses and still be offered work experience.

 

 

Hitachi announced the suspension of work at the plant on Thursday because of rising costs, although its subsidiary Horizon Nuclear insisted work could restart when funding solutions were agreed.

The Japanese firm had been in talks with the UK government since June about funding for the project.

The government said it had failed to agree terms with Hitachi.

UK Business Secretary Greg Clark has told MPs ministers were willing to provide a “significant and generous package” of support to Hitachi to continue work at Wylfa.

He said that the UK government was willing to take a one-third equity stake in the project and was ready to provide all of the required debt financing to see the project completed.

Following Monday’s meeting, a UK government spokesman said: “We are committed to working with local partners with the clear aim of delivering transformational change across north Wales.

“The £120m committed to the North Wales Growth Deal at Budget 2018 was to provide an impetus for local partners to get the deal over the line, and it is now for the local area to put together a proposition that sets out how this funding will be used and how projects are prioritized.”

 

 

Article found from: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-46940172?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/topics/cmj34zmwm52t/nuclear-power&link_location=live-reporting-story

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