Npower and E.On to sell joint venture Horizon - move throws £10bn nuclear new build plans into doubt

Plans for a £10bn development of two new nuclear power plants in the UK have been put on hold while the joint venture between power companies Npower and E.On is sold.

Horizon Nuclear Power has been developing plans for new nuclear power plants, each containing two reactors, at Wylfa in north Wales and Oldbury in the West Midlands, which would have cost a total of £10bn to construct.

The firm was due to make a decision this month on what type of reactors to build but this has now been put on hold.

It was tipped to select French supplier Areva’s European Pressurised Reactor Design, which would likely have seen the work go to contractor Balfour Beatty, which is in a consortium with Areva.

Tony Cocker, chief executive of E.On UK, said: “We believe that for the right company Horizon remains an attractive project – but sadly, at this time, not for us.

“It is a very well run company and I’d like to thank both the dedicated team that has advanced plans for new nuclear development at both Wylfa and Oldbury for their commitment and achievements to date, and the local communities and our business partners for their support.”

Horizon chief executive Alan Raymant said: “We will now focus on consolidating the progress made and working with our shareholders as they investigate the opportunities for new ownership.”

Energy minister Charles Hendry said he was disappointed that E.On and Npower had withdrawn from the nuclear new build market but added: “The UK’s new nuclear programme is far more than one consortia and there remains considerable interest.

“Plans from EDF/Centrica and Nugen are on track and Horizon’s sites offer new players an excellent ready-made opportunity to enter the market.”