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Decision on Wylfa and Trawsfynydd ‘urgently needed’

21 Feb 2024 3 minute read
The decommissioned Wylfa nuclear power station on Anglesey. Photo by rodtuk.

A decision by the UK Government on the future of nuclear development at Wylfa and Trawsfynydd is urgently needed, according to a Senedd Committee.

The Economy, Trade and Rural Affairs Committee’s latest report analyses the role of nuclear energy in Wales’ economy and concludes that a successful nuclear industry would provide thousands of high-quality jobs and billions of pounds worth of investment.

Investment and jobs

The Committee is calling for the UK Government, as nuclear energy is largely a reserved matter, to decide on the future of Wylfa and Trawsfynydd urgently, especially since the recent publication of the ‘Civil Nuclear: Roadmap to 2050’ plan did not mention either site.

If the sites in north Wales are chosen to be a part of the next generation of nuclear reactors, this could bring tens of thousands of additional jobs to the area according to the Nuclear Industry Association.

The Committee’s report is urging the Welsh Government to be ready to ensure there are maximum benefits to the Welsh economy if the decision to go ahead with nuclear in north Wales is made.

Skills and housing

One of the key challenges identified by the Committee is the need to increase workforce skills for the nuclear sector.

The public body Great British Nuclear said that the increase in skills needed for the nuclear sector was “breathtaking”, which has led to the Committee calling for the Welsh Government to set out how it will work with the education and skills sector to establish a workforce that is ready.

The report also details how any new nuclear commission would likely bring in many workers from outside of north Wales – this could bring pressure on local housing stock.

The Committee is urging the Welsh Government to work closely with local authorities and housing planners if the nuclear investment were to go ahead.

Urgency

Paul Davies MS, Chair of the Economy, Trade and Rural Affairs Committee, said: “The history – and potential future – of the north Wales nuclear industry is huge. The industry is already a big local employer, and this could be even larger.

“This is why we are calling on the UK Government to make an urgent decision on the two sites so that the people of north Wales can get clarity on what the future holds for them.

“Both the Wylfa and Trawsfynydd have the potential to rejuvenate the north Wales economy if they are chosen for nuclear investment, but we also need the Welsh Government to step up to make sure that this potential investment is successful.

“They need to start their work now, making sure that the workforce is skilled, specialised and ready so that the new opportunities can benefit local people. The Welsh Government must also engage with local authorities and communities to ensure that housing stock isn’t overwhelmed.”


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Jonathan Dean
Jonathan Dean
1 month ago

Westminster has offshore wind far higher up the priority list, as it is far cheaper, and there is a hugely ambitious programme to upgrade the grid to accommodate this which will be a challenge to deliver

There is no grid capacity in any of the forward plans for nuclear anywhere in north Wales

Unless they opt for subsea cables to Merseyside and Pembroke, Wylfa is essentially “stranded”

Jeff
Jeff
1 month ago

It wnt be ready for ages. Green energy can be in place and working a lowering costs far sooner and cheaper. Electricity today at this instance, nuke is 12% and wind at 48%. Yeah granted wind does not always blow but far better we do not have to deal with the millennia issues with nuclear and invest in greening up and finding ways that make it work.

Jonathan Dean
Jonathan Dean
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeff

The grid will be carbon free from 2035 based mainly on offshore wind and solar using hydrogen for long term storage (to be burnt in existing gas power stations)

Jonathan Dean
Jonathan Dean
1 month ago

The Senedd can consent power stations up to 350 MW so there is nothing stopping them from developing Trawsfynydd as an SMR site (eg a GE-Hitachi 300) if there is any spare grid capacity However, this wouldn’t comply with national policy statement EN-1 Far better locations would be Deeside/Wrexham or Swansea-Newport, as both would allow waste heat to be used for low carbon heating as an additional revenue stream The Welsh Government has already identified locations for district heating networks, including Aberystwyth, Brecon and the NE and SW, which could all use waste heat from sub 350 MW nuclear stations… Read more »

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

Personally, and this neither addresses the economics of Traws or the career prospects of Vaughan Gething but I think, continue to make the place safe and leave well alone…

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