Horizon withdraws from Oldbury-on-Severn nuclear project

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Land at Shepperdine, near Oldbury in South GloucestershireImage source, Horizon Nuclear Power
Image caption,
Work was suspended at the site in January 2019

The scrapping of plans to build a nuclear power plant near Bristol have been welcomed by local campaigners.

Developer Horizon is stopping its activities at Oldbury-on-Severn after owner Hitachi confirmed it was withdrawing from the project.

Severnside Together Against Nuclear Development (STAND) welcomed the move calling the project "unsafe".

But Oldbury Parish Council said work on flood defences against the River Severn would be set back by the withdrawal.

It also expressed disappointment that employment opportunities for people in the region would be lost.

Hitachi is also withdrawing from its Wylfa Newydd project on Anglesey in Wales.

Work was suspended at both nuclear sites early last year over a lack of funding for the Wylfa Newydd scheme.

Hitachi said it made the decision given 20 months had passed since the project had paused "and the investment environment has become increasingly severe due to the impact of Covid-19".

'Huge expense'

STAND spokeswoman Barbara French has campaigned for many years against the building of the reactors at Oldbury over safety concerns.

She said: "In particular we believed that rising sea levels and the situation of the proposed site on a flood plain made the project extremely dangerous".

Mrs French cited the "huge expense" of trying to make nuclear power safe means it is "no longer viable".

She added she hoped Horizon personnel could be re-employed in the" fast growing" area of renewable energy.

South Gloucestershire Council said it would be "seeking clarity" on the future of nuclear power in relation to the site "for the local communities who have faced many years of uncertainty".

Horizon maintained Oldbury was a "highly desirable site" for a new nuclear build, and would facilitate prospects for development "which will bring the major benefits nuclear power can uniquely deliver".

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