THE TAKEOVER of Oldbury’s new nuclear development is complete, just four weeks after Japanese firm Hitachi agreed to buy the project.

Horizon, the company set up by E.ON and RWE npower to see the development through, its assets and staff have now been acquired by Hitachi £700 million deal.

The Japanese nuclear developer announced its intention at the end of October to pick up the scheme for a huge power station at Shepperdine.

Alan Raymant, Horizon chief operating officer, said: "We are delighted that the deal has completed. It secures the future of Horizon and represents a huge economic opportunity for South Gloucestershire.

"Our project at Oldbury will represent a multi-billion pound investment, with a peak of around 6,000 construction jobs and around 1,000 during the operation of the station.

"Our investment in local skills and suppliers can also help ensure that the project leaves a lasting legacy for the region."

Horizon Nuclear Power was formed as a joint venture between E.ON and RWE npower. In March, after months of consultation with villagers and just days after they bought land for the project at Shepperdine, E.ON and RWE announced their decision to sell their stakes in Horizon. They also pulled out of another nuclear site at Wylfa, in Wales.

News that Hitachi had struck a deal with Horizon to develop the new nuclear site was given a mixed reception in the region.

Some residents where delighted to see the scheme picked up but others feared that the design already agreed on between Horizon and villagers, including the type and size of cooling towers, would be completely altered, taking everything back to square one.

But Mr Raymant said the towers selected would remain unchanged. He said: "Hitachi has a world-class track record. Its Advanced Boiling Water Reactors have all been constructed to time and to budget. We plan replicate that success in the UK. Now the sale has completed we will focus on developing our programme and strategy.

"Development of Oldbury will follow our lead site at Wylfa. We also expect our current preference for smaller hybrid, cooling towers will remain unchanged."

Announcing the sale in October, Hitachi and Horizon set out their intention to make significant investment in training engineers, construction teams and operating staff for a new power station.

He added: "We realise there will be a great deal of interest in our plans locally and we look forward to providing the community with further information as soon as possible."