The £20 billion Horizon Project was initially suspended over financing queries in January 2019, and the delay, plus the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, has seen Hitachi pull the plug.

The Horizon Project is a proposal by Horizon Nuclear Power Limited, which Hitachi acquired in November 2012, to develop nuclear power stations at Wylfa Newydd in Anglesey, with the intention to develop Hitachi's nuclear business in the UK and contribute to the energy policy of the UK government. As many as 9,000 jobs would have been supported in the local area.

Hitachi has promised to coordinate next steps with the UK government, to which the company expressed its "deepest gratitude".

Minister for Economy and North Wales Ken Skates said: "The news from Hitachi today is deeply disappointing. There has been a tremendous effort by Horizon Nuclear Power, Ynys Mon Council, the North Wales region and all our partners to bring this important project forward. Now is the time to continue with this strong partnership and build upon those efforts. We must not lose sight that Wylfa remains one the best sites in the UK for new nuclear development."

The sentiment was echoed by Whitehall, with a spokesperson saying the government remained committed to nuclear energy as part of a low-carbon future.

In a statement, Duncan Hawthorne, chief executive of Horizon Nuclear Power, said:

“I understand this announcement will be disappointing for our many supporters who had hoped to see our project through to completion and I would personally like to thank you for your support throughout our time on this project.

“In particular I would like to thank our lead host community of Anglesey in Wales, represented by the Isle of Anglesey County Council and Welsh Government, and the key representatives around Oldbury.

“Nuclear power has a critical role to play in helping tackle our energy needs, meeting our climate change targets and levelling up the economy through green growth and job creation.

“Wylfa Newydd on Anglesey and Oldbury on Severn are highly desirable sites for new nuclear build. We will do our utmost to facilitate the prospects for development which will bring the major local, national and environmental benefits that nuclear can uniquely deliver as we push to transition to a net zero carbon economy by 2050.”