SNC-Lavalin Rumoured to be in on UK Nuclear Project

SNC Lavalin nuclear power plants in the UK

After a difficult year in which it faced charges of bribery in securing contracts overseas, engineering and construction company SNC-Lavalin is believed to be a key player in building nuclear power plants in the UK.

According to some reports, SNC-Lavalin and Hitachi combined to buy Horizon Nuclear Power for a sum of $1.1 million, though details surrounding SNC-Lavalin’s role in the consortium are not clear.

Horizon was previously under the ownership of E.On and RWE of Germany.

It would mark yet another notch in the engineering and construction company’s belt in the nuclear field following last year’s purchase of Atomic Energy of Canada’s commercial reactor division. SNC-Lavalin bought the division from the federal government for a sum of $15 million plus royalty payments.

SNC Lavalin nuclear power plants UK“Due to SNC Lavalin’s nuclear construction expertise, Hitachi would expect them to have a role in the construction of the sites, but nothing has been confirmed as of yet,” Georgia Lewis, a London-based spokesperson for Hitachi, told Canadian Press.

While Hitachi has not confirmed that SNC-Lavalin was a partner in the purchase, reports coming out of the UK suggested as much. The Japanese corporation has said that UK companies Rolls Royce and Babcock International have signed memorandums of understanding to join the consortium and added that it will also be working with “other nuclear energy related companies around the world.”

In a release, Hitachi said it would build two to three 1,300 megawatt plants in existing Horizon sites in Wylfa, Anglesey and Oldbury, Gloucestershire, with those plants expected to create between 5,000 and 6,000 jobs per site during the construction phase and 1,000 ongoing jobs thereafter. The first unit is expected to be operational in the middle of the next decade.

“Today starts our 100 year commitment to the UK and its vision to achieve a long-term, secure, low-carbon and affordable energy supply,” said Hitachi president Hiroaki Nakanishi in his company’s release.

Once the transaction has been completed, Hitachi will work toward licence acceptance for the work.

By Richard Barnes
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