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Anti-nuclear campaigners slam plans to install new nuclear reactors in Wales

27 Aug 2021 3 minutes Read
Wylfa Power Station. Picture: Andrew Woodvine (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Anti-nuclear campaigners in Wales have criticised the Welsh Government for supporting “flawed and outdated” technology amid plans to install new reactors in Wales.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.

‘Potential’

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.”

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Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
1 month ago

Bitterly disappointing to see the Welsh labour govt trying to resurrect the outdated and dangerous nuclear power when the rest of the world are turning to and investing in renewables. Whatever happened to Mark Drakeford’s ‘nuclear scepticism’? https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-45837501.

Neil Anderson
Neil Anderson
1 month ago

Lest we forget (and Westinghouse won’t remind us), nuclear is dirty. They have no solution to the waste problem, but are probably sizing up Wales for longterm waste storage. But we won’t fall for the vacuous flattery of Wales in particular holds significant potential. Dragon-dressing in sore need of greenwashing… All no doubt part of the unionist strategy of nearer my England to thee. With transportation and energy especially, it’s not about levelling up but extracting more wealth from our people and our environment. Rejoining the nuclear game would increase our dependence on England, and undermine our search for independence.… Read more »

Sidney
Sidney
1 month ago

Exciting, nuclear power is safe, and generates small volumes of weight and barely any land use.

We need electricity for suck the carbon from burning all our coal out of the air and put in back into empty mines.

I’m so excited also for the resurrection of fast neutron reactors (like Duneray until 1994) which bred more fuel than it consumed and all the plutonium is still stored safely.
Then we can have a closed loop field cycle with no extra CO2 emissions and no extra land use or mining.

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
1 month ago
Reply to  Sidney

Presumably youre ‘excited’ about the clean up costs when it’s decommisioned in the future? The cost of cleaning up sellafield rose to a massive £70 billlion. Should Wales be an independent country by then this would bankrupt us https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cumbria-26124803

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