Two firms, including one new entrant to the UK nuclear sector, are in pole position to take the engineering, procurement and construction contractor role on Hitachi’s £8bn Wylfa nuclear plant in Anglesey.
Hitachi told Construction News it had entered “exclusive discussions” with US firm Bechtel and Japanese-based JGC Corporation over the contract on Horizon’s Welsh nuclear project, with the pair expected to work together if awarded the role.
A Hitachi spokesman said: “We can confirm we are in exclusive discussions with two companies – Bechtel and JGC Corporation – regarding a potential role in the EPC delivery team for Wylfa Newydd.”
Construction News understands the pair saw off challenges from US-based firms Fluor and Chicago Bridge & Iron Company.
The news marks a significant step forward for the project, which will be run by Horizon Nuclear Power, coming almost three years after Hitachi bought the site for £700m from German utilities company RWE and E.ON in October 2012.
Sources said Hitachi had been in discussions with potential tier one contractors and suppliers since the purchase.
The Hitachi spokesman added: “We can say that it is our intention to put together a delivery team which will build on our knowledge of deploying the ABWR [advanced boiling water reactor], adding extensive global experience.
“This progress will also pave the way for significant involvement of UK firms throughout the supply chain.”
If selected, the contract would mark JGC’s first venture into the UK energy construction sector.
The Yokohama-based energy specialist has worked on projects across Asia, Africa, Australia and Europe, but so far has only been involved on one UK project: Unilever’s Colworth Research Laboratory.
Bechtel has been involved in major infrastructure projects such as Crossrail, High Speed 1 and the Jubilee line extension in recent years.
It is also working on the multi-billion-pound Watts Bar nuclear plant in Tennessee.
A Bechtel spokeswoman said: “Although it’s premature to discuss specifics, we see great promise in joining the capabilities of Bechtel and Hitachi to deliver a new nuclear power station at Wylfa.
“Bechtel has completed complex mega-projects in the UK for 60 years and is currently completing construction of the first new nuclear generating unit this century in the United States.”
Construction at Horizon’s Wylfa site will involve replacing the existing Magnox reactors, the last of which is set to be shut down later this year - with new UK ABWR.
These reactors are said to be the most advanced in the world and will be capable of providing 2.7 GW of energy output, enough to power more than five million homes.
The project is expected to see the creation of 8,500 jobs during its peak construction period.