Government eyes Anglesey as site for 3.2GW nuke plant


Energy ministry D-ESNZ has confirmed the old Hitachi plot at Wylfa on Anglesey as the government’s preferred site for the UK’s third mega-nuclear power station.

The government is approaching international nuclear builders & operators for another try at reviving nuclear generation on the island. Britain purchased the site this year from Hitachi for £160 million, after the Japanese firm in September 2020 cut its losses of £2 billion, incurred over its twelve years of attempting revive nuclear generation on the island.

Hitachi had intended to build two advanced boiling water reactors (ABWRs), with a combined capacity of 3GW on a site to the south of the existing Wylfa complex. The company’s plans foundered for reasons including concerns about a Contracts for Difference funding model of their venture.

in December 2015 the second of Wylfa’s two earlier Magnox reactors, each capable of 0.49GW, were shut down, forty four years after the plant was first commissioned.

This morning’s statement by energy secretary Claire Coutinho hails the Wylfa decision as part of the Sunak government’s biggest expansion of British nuclear generation for 70 years. Quadrupling the source before mid century by up to 24GW will be achieved through a mix of large-scale traditional plants and small modular reactors, which are quicker to build, said the minister.

A revived Wylfa will fall in the same supra-3GW capacity bracket as Hinkley Point C and the planned Sizewell C.

The government’s development entity Great British Nuclear, tasked with delivering the world’s fastest small modular reactor competition, recently secured Wylfa and Oldbury-on-Severn in Gloucestershire as possible sites for new nuclear projects. It was the first time the government acquired land for nuclear since the 1960s.

“Anglesey has a proud nuclear history. It’s only right that, once again, it can play a central role in boosting the UK’s energy security”, Coutinho declared.  Wylfa would contribute clean reliable power to millions of homes, she claimed, adding that it could create thousands of well-paid jobs.

Her cabinet colleagu Welsh secretary David TC Davies added: “Alongside the revival of Wylfa, recent measures we have announced include a freeport for Anglesey, £17 million in Levelling Up money for Holyhead and electrification of the North Wales rail line. These show that the UK government continues to deliver for Anglesey and for North Wales”.

Sam Richards, CEO of regeneration lobbyists Britain Remade, added: “News that Wylfa is a preferred site for a new gigawatt scale power station will come as a huge relief to local islanders who are crying out for a new reactor”.

“It’s critical that the planning red-tape that has slowed down building Hinkley Point C, and added huge costs, are quickly addressed by government.

“With the announcement of new nuclear at Wylfa, the case for a third Menai crossing is stronger than ever. The governments in Westminster and Cardiff should now work together to deliver.”


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