UK anti-nuclear groups slam Hitachi acquisition of Horizon, call for boycott

UK anti-nuclear groups slam Hitachi acquisition of Horizon, call for boycott


Joint media release from Kick Nuclear and Japanese Against Nuclear (UK)


October 31, 2012 – for immediate release

UK-based anti-nuclear groups Kick Nuclear & Japanese Against Nuclear (UK) [1] have condemned the £700m acquisition of nuclear new build consortium Horizon by Hitachi Ltd. [2] They call on the Japanese firm to abandon its plans to build new nuclear plants in the UK [3] and are calling for a boycott of the company until it does so.

Hitachi was responsible for the manufacture of one of the reactors at the Fukushima No.1 plant in Japan, which was devastated by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. [4]


There are also questions about the reliability of the reactor design Hitachi wishes to build in the UK. [5]


Nancy Birch, a spokesperson for Kick Nuclear, said:


“As a Japanese company with first-hand experience of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, which continues to pollute the environment, Hitachi is only too aware of the dangers of nuclear power.

“Building more nuclear power plants is a danger to everyone and will do nothing to solve the long-term environmental problems we face.
“If these nuclear plants are built, it will be us and future generations who will ultimately have to foot the bill for the clean up, with
Hitachi walking away with any profits.

"We simply don’t need dangerous new nuclear power plants in the UK. Our energy needs can be met more safely, sustainably and cost-effectively through a combination of energy saving and renewable and decentralised energy, including solar, wind and marine energy.

“Instead of building new nuclear white elephants, Hitachi should invest in renewable energy. We want a future, not a disaster.”


Notes to editors:


1. Kick Nuclear is a London-based group campaigning against the UK’s addiction to nuclear power and supporting sustainable alternatives


Japanese Against Nuclear (UK) is a group of Japanese citizens resident in the UK who campaign against nuclear power.


2. Hitachi news release – 30 October 2012

3. Horizon Nuclear Power was formed in January 2009 with a view to building new nuclear power plants at Wylfa, in north Wales and Oldbury, near Bristol.




‘Fukushima Engineer Says He Helped Cover Up Flaw at Dai-Ichi Reactor No. 4’


5. The reliability of Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWRs) built so far is not particularly impressive, though only two of those have been built by Hitachi.


Shika-2 has been in commercial operation since 2006, yet lifetime operating reliability is less than 50%. Technical problems in the turbines are blamed.

Operational ABWRs include: HAMAOKA 5 (Toshiba), KASHIWAZAKI KARIWA-6  (Toshiba) , KASHIWAZAKI KARIWA-7 (Hitachi) and SHIKA-2 (Hitachi)

- From list of reactors in operation worldwide in 2009. See: )


The four ABWRs in operation were often shut down due [to] technical problems. The International Atomic Energy Agency documents this with the 'operating factor' (the time with electricity feed-in relative to the total time since commercial operation start). The first two plants in Kashiwazaki-Kariwa (block 6 & 7) reach operating factors below 70%, meaning that about 30% of an average year they aren't producing electricity.[3][4] In contrast other modern nuclear power plants like the Korean OPR-1000 or the German Konvoi show operating factors of about 90%.[5]

The output power of the two new ABWRs at the Hamaoka and Shika power plant had to be lowered because of technical problems in the turbines.[6] After throttling both power plants still have a heightened downtime and show other their lifetime operating factors under 50%.[7][8]

The following are new Hitachi reactor projects, only one of which appears still to be going ahead:

Oma Nuclear Plant, originally scheduled for completion Nov 2014, has faced an 18- month delay after Fukushima

Shimane was due to be completed in March 2012, but was suspended in 2011


5. Image of Fukushima-1 Unit 4 vessel head being removed, draped in GE-Hitachi banner: