Plan for new nuclear reactors at Wylfa and Trawsfynydd a step closer as Natural Resource Wales looks at designs
Plans for new nuclear power stations at Trawsfynydd and Wylfa have taken a step closer after the UK Government asked government regulators to assess designs for the reactors.
Natural Resources Wales will be among those assessing the designs by Rolls-Royce, with both Wylfa and Trawsfynydd have been named as potential sites for housing them within the UK.
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.
Tom Samson, Rolls-Royce SMR chief executive, said entering that process was another major milestone towards its goal of deploying a fleet of small nuclear reactors that can produce affordable, low carbon electricity.
“The UK regulatory process is internationally recognised and respected. We welcome the scrutiny and challenge that goes into the assessment of our nuclear power plant design,” he said.
Kwasi Kwarteng, the Business Secretary, said that it was a “significant step” in bringing the SMRs into existence.
Trade body the Nuclear Industry Association said: “This is a vital step forward for British nuclear technology. The UK needs the Rolls-Royce SMR to strengthen our energy security and cut our dependence on gas as we move toward net zero.
“The SMR can also play an essential role in enhancing British industrial capability, creating tens of thousands of jobs, revitalising the nuclear skills base and boosting the green economic recovery.”
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“The UK and Welsh governments should divert resources and support away from wasteful and outdated nuclear power projects towards developing renewable technologies that are much cheaper and can provide faster and more sustainable solutions to the energy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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