Anti-nuclear campaigners slam plans to install new nuclear reactors in Wales
Anti-nuclear campaigners in Wales have criticised the Welsh Government for supporting “flawed and outdated” technology amid plans to install new reactors in Wales.
It was revealed on Wednesday that Mike Tynan, former head of UK operations at US nuclear engineering group Westinghouse, has been recruited by the Welsh Government to head up their nuclear company Cwmni Egino with the aim of resurrecting the Trawsfynydd site.
Both Trawsfynydd and the Wylfa site on Anglesey are being discussed as possible locations for small modular reactors at existing nuclear sites.
But anti-nuclear campaign groups PAWB and CADNO said that the nuclear power station at Trawsfynydd should be a focus for the development of renewable and sustainable technologies.
Trawsnfynydd is already the site of the decommissioned Magnox nuclear power station that ran between 1965 and 1991.
PAWB and CADNO said that once again hopes for work for local people will be raised, with few substantive promises.
“There is not enough proof that the technology will have been developed enough to make a difference in the critical fight against climate change in time,” they said.
“In addition, limited public resources that support nuclear mean that those resources are not available to truly green and sustainable technologies.
“Climate change, homelessness, poverty, inequality – these are the complex problems of our time. The nuclear obsession does nothing to solve these problems; it adds to them. ”
The Welsh Government and UK Government consider the small-scale reactors an important technology to meet net-zero targets by 2050.
The small nuclear reactor has been designed by Rolls-Royce and is awaiting approval in the UK. Already, the company has said that there is a “fairly high probability” that one could be installed in Trawsfynydd by the early 2030s.
Tom Samson, chief executive of the Rolls-Royce-led consortium, told the Financial Times that “Wales in particular holds significant potential” for small modular reactors.
He named as locations both Trawsfynydd and the Wylfa site on Anglesey.
The Welsh Government announced last year that it was setting up Cwmni Egino, with then Economic Minister Ken Skates saying there was “huge potential for the development of small modular reactor technologies at Trawsfynydd”.
“To be able to maximise and deliver this we are establishing Cwmni Egino to pursue this to the full, ensuring this great potential is unlocked,” he said.
“There is expertise and skill in the nuclear field in North Wales, with AMRC Cymru and developments at Bangor University, as well as the sites at both Trawsfynydd and Wylfa. I want to ensure that we make the most of this and are at the forefront of new developments.”
The plan came after Hitachi pulled out of building Wylfa B on Anglesey in 2019 over cost concerns.
“While we had disappointing news on Wylfa Newydd a fortnight ago, the fact remains that it is one of the best sites in the UK for a new nuclear development,” Ken Skates said in September.
“The establishment of a development company at Trawsfynydd shows our commitment to the nuclear sector in North Wales.”