30/10/2012 10:50 GMT | Updated 30/10/2012 11:30 GMT

Hitachi Pledges 100-Year Commitment To UK Nuclear Energy

Japanese industrial giant Hitachi has announced plans to create up to 18,000 jobs in the UK, with plans to build up to three new nuclear power plants.

The plants will start producing electricity during the first half of the 2020s and 1,000 permanent jobs will be on offer at each of the sites once they’re operational.

In what Hiroaki Nakanishi, president of Hitachi, called a “100-year commitment”, the nuclear sites are expected to generate the power equivalent of to up to 14 million homes over 60 years.

Hitachi bought the sites for development from the German Horizon joint venture owned by EON and RWE for £696m. The sites are at Wylfa on Anglesey, North Wales, and Oldbury in Gloucestershire.

"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 Nakanishi.

The news will come as a welcome boost to the coalition government, after doubts were cast about the private sector's commitment to the UK's nuclear programme after a consortium made up of Iberdrola, GDF Suez and SSE had earlier withdrew from the process.

A second group, made up of EDF and British Gas owner Centrica, has indicated it’s still interested, but no decision has been reached over whether to build two reactors at Hinkley Point, Somerset.

Energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey said Hitachi would bring decades of expertise, and welcomed its commitment to helping build a low- carbon, secure-energy future for the UK.

"This will show that international investors looking at our energy policy have a huge amount of confidence in it," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"This will provide energy for 14 million homes, it will provide huge jobs, and it will put the UK in a fantastic position for exporting nuclear expertise."