UK Government in talks for new nuclear power plant in Wales
The UK Government are in talks to build another large-scale multi-billion pound nuclear power plant in Wales.
The new plant on Anglesey in Wales is being discussed with reactor manufacturer Westinghouse, as part of efforts to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.
A new nuclear power plant at the decommissioned Wylfa site could become operational in the mid-2030s and generate power for six million homes.
The new Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is said to be keen on the idea, amid concern about rising energy prices and the fact that nuclear will only provide 8% of the UK’s energy by 2024.
The project is also being promoted by Welsh Secretary Simon Hart. Projects over 350MW in size are reserved to Westminster and can be pushed through without the Welsh Government’s consent.
Government sources have told the Times that there is now “growing backing” for the idea to go ahead. An attempt to build a nuclear plant at Wylfa with Hitachi collapsed last September.
“If our current situation shows anything it is that we need more stable home grown, low carbon generation in the UK,” the source said. “This is an important project that we’re very keen to try and get off the ground.”
A nuclar power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset is already in the works, but has caused controversy as mud has been dumped off the coast of Cardiff.
The UK Government plans could scupper those of the Welsh Government, who had been eyeing Wylfa as the location of a small modular reactor. Trawsfynydd has also been considered as a possible location.
The small nuclear reactor has been designed by Rolls-Royce and is awaiting approval in the UK. Already, the company has said that there is a “fairly high probability” that one could be installed in Trawsfynydd by the early 2030s.
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.
Anti-nuclear campaign groups PAWB and CADNO have opposed plans for any more nuclear power and said that the sites should be the focus for the development of renewable and sustainable technologies.
“There is not enough proof that the technology will have been developed enough to make a difference in the critical fight against climate change in time,” they said.
“In addition, limited public resources that support nuclear mean that those resources are not available to truly green and sustainable technologies.
“Climate change, homelessness, poverty, inequality – these are the complex problems of our time. The nuclear obsession does nothing to solve these problems; it adds to them. ”