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MPs call for action over Welsh nuclear power station

03 May 2023 3 minute read
The decommissioned Wylfa nuclear power station on Anglesey. Photo by rodtuk.

UK Ministers must take decisive action over the future of nuclear energy if ambitious energy targets are to be met, MPs have argued in a new report.

The paper, published on Wednesday by the Welsh Affairs Committee, said the UK Government’s commitment to increasing nuclear energy production is still lacking despite the issue having risen up the policy agenda in recent years.

It urged leaders to secure the financial and land ownership agreements needed for the proposed Wylfa Newydd project in north Wales to go ahead.

The £20 billion gigawatt-scale development on the Anglesey coastline is said by the report to be vital to the Government realising its ambition for nuclear energy to meet up to a quarter of UK electricity demand, around 24GW, by 2050.

The aim is part of the UK Government’s plan to enhance energy security and deliver on net zero.

The UK currently generates about 15% of its electricity from about 6.5GW of nuclear capacity.

Cross-party committee members, who are behind the Nuclear energy in Wales report, have also championed the project as a levelling-up opportunity for a rural part of the country, saying it could be a “game-changer” for the region’s economy.

The Wylfa project could support 10,000 jobs during the construction phase and 900 permanent jobs once the power station is operational, according to evidence heard by the committee.

Obstacles

But major obstacles remain in the way of securing capital investment for the project, the report warned.

Rising costs and a failure to reach a financial agreement with the UK Government led to the formerly Hitachi-led development being suspended in January 2019.

The cancellation caused shock and disappointment throughout the local community and sparked concerns over the UK’s renewable energy agenda.

The continued ownership of the site by Hitachi’s UK subsidiary Horizon Nuclear Power is seen as a further barrier to progress, and the committee called on the Government to encourage the company to sell it or join other developers to enable a future development to proceed.

Mr Crabb said: “Over the last couple of decades Wylfa has been in a state of limbo.

“Despite the positive policy changes and stronger rhetoric from ministers about nuclear, a new power station at Wylfa is still far from certain.

“Important obstacles remain on financing which is limiting private sector investment, and on the issue of land ownership which is preventing a new developer coming in.

“We must see concrete action on addressing these issues before the next general election, otherwise the uncertainty about the project will increase.

“A gigawatt-scale nuclear energy project at Wylfa would be a game-changer for the north Wales economy.

“The enormous investment would illustrate levelling-up in action, creating well-paid, high-skilled jobs, and we would be a step closer to energy independence.”


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Neil Anderson
Neil Anderson
9 months ago

Foolish nonsense. The most expensive, most dangerous, least flexible energy source, with huge legacy costs and massive environmental impact. Cymru does not need it. We are already producing twice as much energy as we need. Let’s avoid being an energy colony for England’s extravagances. Or a water colony. Independence would save us from this stupidity.

Charles Coombes
Charles Coombes
9 months ago

No to nuclear. Use the money to provide solar on all new houses, retro fit to existing and provide battery storage for community useage. Revive plans for tidal barrages and look at gravity schemes for peak periods.
Nuclear is dangerous and is so for a 100 years.

Richard 1
Richard 1
9 months ago

We should all tell our MPs that the regulators (Office for Nuclear Regulation [ONR] and the various environment agencies) have no idea how many radioactive dust particles are being routinely discharged to air from nuclear power stations. The last known data on such discharges was for 1997 (for every reactor in the world). The numbers are mindboggling. I am in discussion with ONR about what the English Environment Agency told me recently, which seems to mean that they do no monitoring.

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
9 months ago
Reply to  Richard 1

Well done! We do need that kind of data made public and I would add my weight to the earlier posters who correctly point out that this is not what Cymru needs.

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