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Trawsfynydd could home reactor again as Welsh Government appoints CEO for nuclear company

25 Aug 2021 2 minutes Read
Trawsfynydd nuclear power station across the lake. Picture by William M. Connolley (CC BY-SA 3.0).

Trawsfynydd could home a nuclear reactor again after the Welsh Government appointed a CEO for its nuclear company with the aim of exploring the possibility.

Mike Tynan, former head of UK operations at US nuclear engineering group Westinghouse, has been recruited to head up Cwmni Egino with the aim of resurrecting the Trawsfynydd site.

Trawsnfynydd is already the site of the decommissioned Magnox nuclear power station that ran between 1965 and 1991.

According to the Financial Times, Mike Tynan and Cwmni Egino will explore the economic benefits of siting a small-scale reactor at Trawsfynydd.

The Welsh Government and UK Government consider the small-scale reactors an important technology to meet net-zero targets by 2050.

Rolls-Royce, which has designed a small modular reactor and is waiting for UK regulatory approval, has previously said that there was a “pretty high probability” Trawsfynydd could house the first by the early 2030s.

They are planning to house the small modular reactors at existing nuclear sites in the UK.

Tom Samson, chief executive of the Rolls-Royce-led consortium, told the Financial Times that “Wales in particular holds significant potential” for small modular reactors.

He named as locations both Trawsfynydd and the Wylfa site on Anglesey.

‘Potential’

The Welsh Government announced last year that it was setting up Cwmni Egino, with then Economic Minister Ken Skates saying there was “huge potential for the development of small modular reactor technologies at Trawsfynydd”.

“To be able to maximise and deliver this we are establishing Cwmni Egino to pursue this to the full, ensuring this great potential is unlocked,” he said.

“There is expertise and skill in the nuclear field in North Wales, with AMRC Cymru and developments at Bangor University, as well as the sites at both Trawsfynydd and Wylfa. I want to ensure that we make the most of this and are at the forefront of new developments.”

The plan came after Hitachi pulled out of building Wylfa B on Anglesey in 2019 over cost concerns.

“While we had disappointing news on Wylfa Newydd a fortnight ago, the fact remains that it is one of the best sites in the UK for a new nuclear development,” Ken Skates said in September.

“The establishment of a development company at Trawsfynydd shows our commitment to the nuclear sector in North Wales.”

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Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones
1 month ago

With all the potential of green generation for all of Wales they still want to use nuclear power, what is wrong with ukLabour in Wales?

Huw Davies
Huw Davies
1 month ago
Reply to  Gareth Jones

My mamgu often said ‘We can live without oil but not without water’. She might have included coal and gas in that, if she were here now!

Carl Iwan
Carl Iwan
1 month ago

Rolls Royce have NO experience of operating Small Modular Nuclear Reactors. Further, worldwide there are NO operational reactors. To be viable financially, SMNRs need to be developed on scale – at least 10-12 on the site. Why are we encouraging experimental developments such as this with the commensurate radioactive waste and no clear answer for disposal after 30 years of seeking a solution? The local population deserve better – how about a Centre in the vanguard of Renewable Technologies working hand-in-hand with the Centre for Alternative Technology and taking full advantage of the indigenous resources available in the national park?… Read more »

Gilbyn
Gilbyn
1 month ago
Reply to  Carl Iwan

Utterly fanciful. Look at Germany, and the impact their dogmatic adherence to this ‘vision’ has had on their energy supply. Contrast that with France, with its reliance on nuclear.

As I say, those who perpetuate this nonsense that renewables can come anywhere near meeting the energy needs of an industrial economic recovery are going to cost us dearly. We will still need gas and oil in 5-10 years, but the cost will be astronomical.

Jeff Williams-Jones
Jeff Williams-Jones
1 month ago
Reply to  Gilbyn

Deriding arguments by calling them “nonsense” without any substantive evidence is unacceptable in a civilised world. Carl Iwan’s well-considered arguments deserve better.

Gilbyn
Gilbyn
1 month ago

They’re not well considered. They’re nonsense. A quick look at the evidence would show you that.

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
1 month ago
Reply to  Gilbyn

What evidence? Your prejudices are not evidence.

Incidentally, you mentioned coal in a previous post. If we are to be serious about climate change and reducing carbon emissions then coal really isn’t an option. Granted its use for steel making (i.e. coke) will have to continue for the foreseeable future until alternatives to coke have been developed – and yes these alternatives do exist, although the technology needs to mature.

Gilbyn
Gilbyn
1 month ago
Reply to  Barry Pandy

What evidence?! Are you serious? Have you not read ANYTHING?

Precisely, the technology needs to mature. And Wales makes absolutely no difference to climate change. None. Have you seen how many coal plants China is opening? We’re sacrificing our economic wellbeing for the sake of appearing virtuous, and it will cost us dearly.

Let’s see what happens to gas and coal prices over the next ten years. We’ll look back and regret that we didn’t take advantage of the opportunity to enrich ourselves, as Norway have done, and invest the proceeds in renewables.

This is all just posturing.

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
1 month ago
Reply to  Gilbyn

As I said you have no evidence other than your own prejudices. Yes I have read plenty about renewables and nuclear unlike you who, it appears, does their ‘research’ on YouTube and Facebook. Firstly, when I said that the technology needs to mature I was referring specifically to the technology needed to replace coke used for steel making. The technology is there but I would concede that it needs to mature before it can replace coke in steel production. However, you have interpreted this has supposed ‘evidence’ that all renewable technology needs to mature. It does not. Wind power is… Read more »

Gilbyn
Gilbyn
1 month ago
Reply to  Barry Pandy

Wow, Barry, I’m impressed. Despite my not saying anything about what evidence I have, you’ve managed to work out that it’s all from Facebook and YouTube.

You’ve also managed to deduce that I’m a racist, because I think gas prices are going up!

You are either a genius, or a little emotional on this subject.

Almost every paragraph of that rant is replete with misunderstanding, silly assumptions and outrageous accusations. Barry, you’re an idiot.

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
1 month ago
Reply to  Gilbyn

With reference to your post below (about you investing in Peabody Energy): Peabody Energy declared losses of $1,696 billion in 2020, $211 million in 2019, $721 millions in 2016 and £1,958 billion in 2015. Peabody Energy also declared itself bankrupt in 2016 Peabody Energy mislead investors about the financial risks to the company from climate change and has been active in climate change denial. Also, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA) coal power should only account for 1% of global energy production at most by 2050 if the target of net zero is to be achieved. In other words, the… Read more »

Gilbyn
Gilbyn
1 month ago
Reply to  Barry Pandy

You were so impressed with your quick googling of Peabody that you posted it twice! 😀

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
1 month ago
Reply to  Gilbyn

That’s because we have two threads going on at the moment in case you hadn’t notices.

Last edited 1 month ago by Barry Pandy
Tony
Tony
30 days ago

I hope my own well-considered answer to his comment is received with equanimity, and in the spirit of reasoned debate here. Although I am used to being called names for pointing out the failings of renewable energy and the safety of nuclear, I never answer rudely. A little brusque on occasion, maybe.

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
1 month ago
Reply to  Gilbyn

Whilst I agree that we still need to use fossil fuels until renewables are fully developed, I don’t agree with the idea that we need nuclear. Some nations (you mentioned Germany) may have to develop nuclear power as they may not be able to generate enough energy from renewals alone but I don’t believe that the current technology (nuclear fission) is the answer. Nuclear fusion would be a far better option if it ever becomes viable. However, I don’t believe this is the case with Wales. The potential for wind, hydro-electric, tidal, wave and solar energy combined with energy saving… Read more »

Gilbyn
Gilbyn
1 month ago
Reply to  Barry Pandy

Oh believe me, Barry, a lot of ordinary people who can but dream of SUVs will pay a far higher price than I will. Or you, presumably.

In the meantime, China, Russia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and a whole list of other unsavoury governments, will be filling their pockets, because they’re not in thrall to climate hysteria, and middle class sanctimony.

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
1 month ago
Reply to  Gilbyn

Really? So what happens when the West stop using fossil fuels? How will the likes of Russia and Saudi Arabia fill their pockets then?

The UAE have realised this which is why they are trying to diversify their economy away from oil whilst the going still good.

Like I said in a previous post, please invest everything you have in coal. I would be really interested to see how you get on.

Gilbyn
Gilbyn
1 month ago
Reply to  Barry Pandy

Ha ha! Barry, my biggest investment this year has been Peabody Energy. Have a look.

Also, look at what’s happened to coal prices this year.

There will be deflation next year, but the rest of the decade will see oil, gas and coal prices soar.

Good luck.

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
1 month ago
Reply to  Gilbyn

Would this be the same Peabody Energy that declared losses of $1,696 billion in 2020? And $211 million in 2019? And $721 millions in 2016? And £1,958 billion in 2015? The same Peabody energy that declared itself bankrupt in 2016? Is this the same Peabody Energy that mislead investors about the financial risks to the company from climate change? Or perhaps it is the same Peabody Energy that has been active in climate change denial? I’m guessing you don’t care about climate change denial if you are willing to invest your money in such a company, but perhaps you should… Read more »

Gilbyn
Gilbyn
1 month ago
Reply to  Barry Pandy

You crack me up, Barry. Yes, the very same Peabody. Have you looked at their share price this year? Or did your extensive research not go that far? I do care about climate change, but I also don’t live in la la land like you do. I have to deal with reality, every day. And the reality is, that we still need coal, gas and oil, that the prices are going to go through the roof, and that Wales will still use them, but will be paying dictators for the privilege, instead of getting rich and using the money to… Read more »

Gilbyn
Gilbyn
1 month ago
Reply to  Gilbyn

To save you the trouble, their share price is up more than 500% this year. And it has a long, long way to go up before the decade is out. It’ll be volatile, but it’ll be worth it!

Now then, what do you think China use to power all the solar panel manufacturing?

Coal.

And where are they doing this?

Xinjiang.

‘Zero carbon’ is just ‘No carbon here’. The hypocrisy of the green movement never ceases to amaze me.

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
1 month ago
Reply to  Gilbyn

Wow! You replied to me not just twice but THREE TIMES! You must really like me! Re: “I do care about climate change, but I also don’t live in la la land like you do. I have to deal with reality, every day. And the reality is, that we still need coal, gas and oil,”. If you had bothered to read my earlier posts properly you would have seen that I did, in fact, acknowledge that we would have to continue to use fossil fuels in the short term: coal to make coke (for steel production) and oil and gas… Read more »

Gilbyn
Gilbyn
1 month ago
Reply to  Barry Pandy

Sorry, Barry, these are just too long to read. Life is too short.

With regard investing, you have no idea what you’re talking about.

Oh, and if you want to blather on about hypocrisy, this is where we’re getting our gas from, and where you want to send Welsh money. You scumbag.

https://twitter.com/disclosetv/status/1426974607203086340?s=20

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
1 month ago
Reply to  Gilbyn

Dear Giblet I would like to sincerely thank you for stooping so low thus proving that you do not, in fact, have a convincing argument. I should also congratulate you for your spectacular display of debating skills. Such a wonderful mastery of language! If you had bothered to read my previous posts properly you might have been able to deduce that I don’t want Wales (or any other country for that matter) to get any gas at all from anyone (brutal dictator or otherwise), but this seems to have gone over your head. I am fully aware of where the… Read more »

Gilbyn
Gilbyn
30 days ago
Reply to  Barry Pandy

This is exactly what I’m referring to. Saying you don’t want gas from anywhere is utterly meaningless. This is all about middle class posturing. I deal with reality.

(Oh, and what are the odds you have gas at home?)

The virtue signalling hypocrisy of climate campaigners is insufferable, and it’s the working class that will suffer.

Wales could turn off the lights tomorrow, and it wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference to world co2 emissions, but scum like you don’t really care about that.

And while climate panicked dogooders lay waste to the Welsh economy…

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/08/25/china-to-build-43-new-coal-fired-power-plants/

Tony
Tony
30 days ago
Reply to  Gilbyn

We will still need gas for as long as we try to decarbonise using wind and solar power. Look at Gridwatch in detail. We have about 25 GW of installed capacity of wind turbines. They seldom manage half of that, and there are periods of several days when they make under 500 MW. There has been no moment since electricity was first produced in the UK when none of it was produced by burning fossil fuels. That’s a big obstacle to cutting our carbon footprint. We will never get anywhere near zero with renewables alone, and we really need to… Read more »

Llewelyn
Llewelyn
1 month ago
Reply to  Carl Iwan

I think Rolls Royce do through their defence subsidiary.

Dave
Dave
1 month ago
Reply to  Carl Iwan

RR make the nuclear power plants for the Astute Class SSN for the Royal Navy………

Tony
Tony
30 days ago
Reply to  Carl Iwan

Rolls Royce have 60 years’ experience of making small reactors, safe enough to operate in a confined space, underwater, next to 16 space rockets and a load of nuclear bombs. So far, nobody has died, something that cannot be said for the British wind turbine fleet. Nuclear is the safest way to make electricity, in terms of deaths per MWh. That is true even with Chernobyl, Fukushima and any others – in fact, only Chernobyl had deaths from radiation. Whether you believe the XR pantomime or not, carbon dioxide has already killed a lot more people. Wind and solar aren’t… Read more »

Sian Caiach
1 month ago

Nuclear Power has a pretty bad reputation but small modular nuclear reactors should not be dismissed just because of the historic failings of a few if their full size predecessors These are basically the same tried and tested technology of the mini nuclear power stations built by Rolls Royce and used to power the engines of nuclear submarines .We all need power that we can get without emitting greenhouse gasses. and other places in the world are looking at SMNRs too, as part of their future power mix. The advantage of nuclear power is it does not warm the planet… Read more »

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 month ago
Reply to  Sian Caiach

More unnecessary debt? Please show cost, including storage and where.

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 month ago
Reply to  j humphrys

I will go with you if Cymru can make money from it, as I accept in general.

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 month ago

Expensive, and Cymru does not need it anyway as we already export power.

Llewelyn
Llewelyn
1 month ago

Place it in Abersoch.

defaid
defaid
1 month ago
Reply to  Llewelyn

Plenty of empty buildings there for most of the year.

Llewelyn
Llewelyn
1 month ago
Reply to  defaid

That would be handy for the waste.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

The remarkable photograph captures the two great civil engineering projects of the 50’s and 60’s in Meirionnydd…in one frame!

Shan Morgain
1 month ago

We don’t need this. Wales already EXPORTS surplus electricity.

Richard
Richard
1 month ago

Three points: Small Modular Reactors suffer the same defect as large reactors – they cannot contain their wastes. Where reactors are confined in submarines or in nuclear powered ships the crews have very high cancer rates (see ref below). High rates are evident downwind of existing nuclear plant. Benjamin Sovacool’s meta-analysis of over 100 studies shows nuclear as the third highest carbon emitter after coal-fired plants and natural gas. SMRs are nowhere near ready to deploy and, as N.C recently reported, they haven’t even reached the spade-in-the-ground point for researching the energy flows inside them. Believing in a nuclear future… Read more »

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