Nuclear reactor linked with Trawsfynydd site could be approved by 2024
Construction of a new nuclear power station in Wales appears to have moved a step closer with confirmation that a Rolls-Royce design for a small modular nuclear reactor (SMR) is expected to receive UK regulatory approval by mid-2024.
In an interview with Reuters, Paul Stein, chairman of Rolls-Royce Small Modular Reactors said the reactors will be able to produce power for the grid by 2029.
Rolls-Royce has secured £450m for the venture to build mini nuclear reactors and last year said that there was a “pretty high probability” Trawsfynydd could house the first reactor by the early 2030s.
Trawsfynydd is the site of the decommissioned Magnox nuclear power station that ran between 1965 and 1991.
Last year the Welsh Government appointed Mike Tynan, former head of UK operations at US nuclear engineering group Westinghouse, as the CEO of Cwmni Egino with the aim of resurrecting the Trawsfynydd site.
Wylfa on Anglesey had also been mentioned as a potential site for Rolls Royce SMR but last month was confirmed as the favoured location for the construction of new nuclear power station to be built two American companies, Westinghouse and Bechtel.
The UK Government has positioned nuclear power at the centre of its new energy strategy and in March instructed the nuclear regulator to start the approval process for Rolls-Royce’s SMR reactor.
Mr Stein told Reuters the regulatory process “has been kicked off” and will likely be complete in the middle of 2024.
“We are trying to work with the UK Government, and others to get going now placing orders, so we can get power on grid by 2029,” he added
In the meantime, Rolls-Royce will start manufacturing parts of the design that are most unlikely to change, Mr Stein said.
Writing in the Telegraph last month, Welsh Secretary Simon Hart described the Trawsfynydd site as having “impressive” credentials.
“The local support is resolute, and it’s an infrastructure project that could transform the whole of the north Wales region whilst creating thousands of jobs in the process” he added.
Rolls-Royce claims a single SMR power station will occupy the footprint of two football pitches and power approximately one million homes, with up to 90% of the plant built or assembled in factory conditions.
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