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Large-scale nuclear power station planned for Anglesey in Wales
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Large-scale nuclear power station planned for Anglesey in Wales

Ministers have earmarked north Wales as the site of a large-scale nuclear power plant, which is part of plans to resuscitate Britain’s nuclear power ambitions.

Wylfa on Anglesey (Ynys Môn) has been named as the preferred site for the UK’s third major nuclear power plant in a generation, coming after EDF’s Hinkley Point C nuclear plant, which is under construction in Somerset, and its Sizewell C nuclear project planned for Suffolk.

The government added that it is already in discussion with major energy companies interested in building a nuclear power plant at Wylfa, which could help the UK reach its goal of sourcing a quarter of its electricity from nuclear power by 2050.

South Korea’s state-owned nuclear developer has reportedly held early-stage discussions with Westminster officials about building a multibillion-pound power plant using its APR1400 reactor technology at Wylfa alongside the UK government.

Meanwhile, the American nuclear developer Westinghouse and the construction group Bechtel have also proposed building the plant, using Westinghouse’s AP1000 reactor technology.

EDF said it was for the government to determine which nuclear reactor type is used at Wylfa but two more of its own reactor units would “be the surest choice” by “building on the skills and experience being developed at Hinkley Point and Sizewell”.

Claire Coutinho, the secretary of state for energy security and net zero, said the government was “powering ahead with the biggest expansion of nuclear energy in 70 years”.

The UK set out a plan to increase Britain’s nuclear power capacity fourfold to reach 24 gigawatts (GW) by 2050. So far the Hinkley Point project has faced delays and rising costs, and the Sizewell project has yet to make a final investment decision.

Coutinho said: “Anglesey has a proud nuclear history and it is only right that, once again, it can play a central role in boosting the UK’s energy security. Wylfa would not only bring clean, reliable power to millions of homes – it could create thousands of well-paid jobs and bring investment to the whole of north Wales.”

A deal would revive Wylfa’s nuclear hopes after Japanese developer Hitachi dropped plans to build two reactors on the site in early 2019 because of rising costs, throwing the site’s future into doubt.

Tom Greatrex, the chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, said: “A large-scale project at Wylfa would be the single biggest inward investment in Welsh history, and a huge step towards both energy security and net zero for the whole country.”

Sue Ferns, the senior deputy general secretary of Prospect union, said: “Gigawatt scale new nuclear power stations are vital to hitting net zero and for our energy security. But they also maintain well-paid and highly skilled jobs, meaning this project would be a major boost to the Welsh economy.”

“Now we need a laser-like focus on delivery of new nuclear to make sure skills and experience are not lost, and costs are reduced as we progress,” Ferns said.

The decision on the nuclear developer, and what type of technology should be used at Wylfa, will be made by Great British Nuclear, which was launched with the aim of providing new power stations, including a fleet of small modular reactors.

Source: theguardian.com