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UK Government in talks for new nuclear power plant in Wales

24 Sep 2021 3 minutes Read
Wylfa on Anglsey. Picture by Reading Tom (CC BY 2.0)

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.

‘Problems’

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. ”

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Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
2 months ago

Gutted this is truly terrible news

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
2 months ago

Hopefully this outrageous imposition by a uk govt will convince even more people in wales of the case for welsh independence

Richard the 1st
Richard the 1st
2 months ago

Yes. Nuclear is NOT low carbon. 3rd highest carbon emitter after coal-fired and natural gas electricity generators. Life cycle emissions 66 grams of carbon dioxide for every kilowatt-hour.

Cat
Cat
2 months ago

Some studies have waste to energy as a higher emitter of carbon, particularly if you factor in all the waste you have to truck in.
But I’m with you on no new nuclear.

Dafydd Evans
Dafydd Evans
2 months ago

…we definately need urgent action on climate change and the ecological emergency but have to question nuclear : a. Where does the uranium ore come from? Not on these Islands (fuel security) and it has to be mined and processed – environmentally damaging and energy intensive (so definately not carbon neutral). b. Consequences of an accident are unthinkable – large parts of Cymru would become uninhabitable. c. Binds us closer to the ‘all knowing, all wonderful, colosus (NOT) that is Westminster’. Is it just me or are the rest of you becoming more convinced nationalists as each week goes by?… Read more »

Sion Cwilt
Sion Cwilt
2 months ago
Reply to  Dafydd Evans

It is indeed a dilemma, and like with the former Wylfa and Trawsfynydd Magnox atomic power stations opinions are going to be very divided. As you point out the ethics and economics of nuclear as an energy source are seriously questionable, and the risks don’t bear thinking about. But, as with the original nuclear power stations located in NW Wales, (partially because of their remoteness from major centres of population) the economically marginalised nature of the proposed location is clearly being exploited. Both Wylfa and Trawsfynydd offered secure and ongoing employment that was relatively well paid, and crucially is all… Read more »

Jonathan Dean
Jonathan Dean
2 months ago
Reply to  Sion Cwilt

The huge offshore wind farms coming 20 km off the north coast of Wales will produce more power and employ as many local people

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
2 months ago
Reply to  Dafydd Evans

b. Much of our coastline has already become uninhabitable…for locals!

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
2 months ago

The welsh national movement has to resist this outrage with every means at our disposal. We cannot allow the british state to keep treating Wales as a place to be used and exploited when it suits it.

Stephen
Stephen
2 months ago

This is great news, provides jobs and clean energy…well done UK Government

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
2 months ago
Reply to  Stephen

Theres nothing ‘clean’ about nuclear energy – the hazardous waste it would produce (and which would be buried underground somewhere in Wales) would remain poisonous for thousands of years!

Jonathan Dean
Jonathan Dean
2 months ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

We have yet to dispose of any of the high level waste we have ever produced. It’s all in storage awaiting disposal

Borris
Borris
2 months ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

All the steel for hinkley point c is made in Wales. Get a grip 🙄

Llywelyn ein Llyw Nesaf
Llywelyn ein Llyw Nesaf
2 months ago

What on earth could be the solution to having the English government imposing their nuclear reactors on the people of Cymru?

Any suggestions? There must be a way.

Sean Thompson
Sean Thompson
2 months ago

Unfortunately, it isn’t a ‘devolved’ matter, so it’s not within the purview of the Welsh Government. Real self government (in a federal or confederal union) or independence are the only routes to us having a say.

j humphrys
j humphrys
2 months ago
Reply to  Sean Thompson

Thanks, but Cymru is an Indy Only -zone!

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
2 months ago

As well as producing tons of poisonous waste, which would be stored underground somewhere in wales for thousands of years, the clean up cost when it is decomissioned in the future would fall on a welsh govt if wales was an independent country by then. Cleaning up sellafield cost a massive £70 billion – the clean up costs for this would bankrupt a future independent Wales ☹️. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cumbria-26124803.amp

R W
R W
2 months ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

I would avoid the term “bankrupt” if I were you as it is a word often bandied about by the ATWA mob about an independent Cymru. Even Greece – with all the financial difficulties it has had – hasn’t gone bankrupt. Indeed, can anyone name a single country that has gone bankrupt since the end of the second world war?

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
2 months ago
Reply to  R W

Noted….lets just say the massive clean up costs when it is decommisioned would place a huge financial burden on a future independent wales

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
2 months ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

Which is probably another reason why they want it…

Tim2
Tim2
2 months ago

Good to see highly skilled jobs being created in an area of wales that’s usually overlooked

Gareth
Gareth
2 months ago

What is Plaid’s position on this?

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
2 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

Adam Price is against.

Quornby
Quornby
2 months ago

Wales already produces 50% more power than we need. The surplus goes to England gratis.

j humphrys
j humphrys
2 months ago

This sort of press release is possibly something to keep the “Natives” guessing.
Is it becoming a daily “drop the dead donkey” -thing?

Last edited 2 months ago by j humphrys
Y Cymro
Y Cymro
2 months ago

As I’ve mentioned many times before. If it benefits England but taints Wales, will be built.

Grayham Jones
2 months ago

It up to wales not England to decide

R W
R W
2 months ago

I suspect this story has come about because the Tories are desperately trying to find a a way to hold on to Ynys Môn at the next general election. The suggested plant will be quietly dropped after the election. Let”s hope their little trick doesn”t work!!

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
2 months ago
Reply to  R W

Worth bearing in mind that talks for a nuclear reactor on Anglesey have been ongoing since around 2008 with two different providers. Both failed. With the expense of nuclear energy, there’s no reason at the moment to believe that these talks will lead anywhere different.

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