UK Government urged to fast-track safety approval on reactors linked with Trawsfynydd
Rolls-Royce is urging the UK Government to fast-track approval of its small modular nuclear reactors, despite the technology still being in the early stages of development.
Trawsfynydd has been identified as a possible site for the reactors, and earlier this week the company established to develop a new reactor there set out plans to start work on a new nuclear development in 2027 – with the plant expected to go online in the early 2030s.
UK Government sources have insisted the new reactors must go through exhaustive safety checks, but Rolls-Royce wants clearance to deploy its reactors from 2029 and is frustrated at the pace of the process to gain approval, which is not expected to be completed until 2026.
Tom Samson, chief executive of Rolls-Royce SMR, told The Times: “Getting the first SMR online by 2029 involves the government making a commitment to deploy our technology in the UK now.
“With an order or instruction from government, we can immediately begin building the factories to produce our modules and work with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority or others to host our technology within the UK’s existing nuclear estate.
“If we do not have an instruction to deploy our technology in the UK by the end of this year, then our ability to meet 2029 will move back accordingly.”
A government spokesman said: “While small modular reactors do not yet exist, ministers are determined to accelerate progress where possible. Rolls-Royce’s reactor design is being assessed by safety regulators — a critically important process that must be allowed to run its course.”
Cwmni Egino, the company set up by the Welsh government to build a new plant at the site of the decommissioned Magnox power plant at Trawsfynydd, says it is yet to make a decision as to which technology is best suited for the site.
The companies Chief Executive, Alan Raymant said: “We’re aiming to start exploratory discussions with potential technology partners over the coming months as we continue to work with others to develop our detailed proposals for the site.
“We’ve set an ambitious programme based on construction starting as early as 2027. This is because we recognise that significant benefits can arise from construction, as well as operation. The earliest we can secure those benefits for communities, the better.
“Before then, there is clearly a lot of work that needs to be done, at pace.
“Our focus for the coming months will be to put together a full business proposition to define the scope of the project, how it will be delivered and funded, and how we can ensure a positive impact on communities.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.