Builders of potential new Wylfa and Trawsfynydd nuclear reactors want faster progress amid energy price spike
Rolls-Royce are appealing to the UK Government to speed up the process as they seek permission to build a new fleet of ‘mini’ reactors as the UK faces an energy price spike.
Both Wylfa and Trawsfynydd in Wales have been discussed as possible sites for reactors but they are not expected to come online until the 2030s, while energy prices soar due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and other issues.
UK Government sources told the Telegraph newspaper that the new reactors must go through exhaustive safety checks, but that Rolls-Royce were frustrated with the lack of progress.
The Welsh Government-funded body Natural Resources Wales will be among those assessing the designs by Rolls-Royce.
A Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy spokesman said: “Small Modular Reactors offer exciting opportunities to cut costs and build more quickly, ensuring we can bring clean electricity to people’s homes and reduce our exposure to volatile gas prices.
“While Small Modular Reactors do not yet exist, countries across the world are racing to develop the technology. Rolls-Royce has confirmed SMRs will be available to the UK grid in the early 2030s and we are working to their timeline, having already committed £210m of government funding.”
Rolls-Royce has raised about £500m to develop the Small Modular Reactors (SMR) reactors, winning investment including £210m of taxpayer funding and money from the Qatar wealth fund.
The company aims to develop a reactor that can be produced in the hundreds in a factory, with the aim to start producing them by the 2030s and selling them for £1.8bn each. Every reactor will be able to power a city larger than Cardiff.
The plans for the new nuclear reactors have already attracted opposition in Wales from Anti-nuclear groups who are calling for the emphasis to be placed on green renewable energy instead.
Dylan Morgan of PAWB (People Against Wylfa B) said last year: “Nuclear power is slow, dangerous and extortionately expensive. It will do nothing to address the current energy crisis, neither will it be effective to counter climate change.
“The UK and Welsh governments should divert resources and support away from wasteful and outdated nuclear power projects towards developing renewable technologies that are much cheaper and can provide faster and more sustainable solutions to the energy crisis and the challenges of climate change.”
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