Welsh Government invited to compete with English regions for small nuclear reactors factory site
The Welsh Government has been invited to compete with regions in England to be the location of a factory to build small nuclear reactors.
Both Wylfa and Trawsfynydd have already been mooted as the location of two of the small modular reactors due to be built by an industry consortium led by Rolls-Royce.
That same consortium has now written to the Welsh Government asking them to pitch for the £200m site where the reactors will be built, with 200 jobs promised.
The main factory will build some of the key components of the reactors which will then be assembled at sites around the UK.
The letter by Rolls-Royce promised “high value, sustainable jobs which will produce products that will be exported globally for many decades to come”.
It also made clear that they were looking for possible “financial and non-financial support” from the host.
The project aims to build five £2bn small modular reactors by 2031, and then another eleven in the years that follow, each with the capacity to power 1.3m homes.
It was announced last month that the Qatar Investment Authority will invest £85m into the project, which now has total funding of £490m.
The UK Government had previously announced that they would match a £245m investment made by a consortium made up of Rolls-Royce, BNF Resources and the US generator Exelon Generation with £210 of their own.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the investment was a “vote of confidence” in the UK.
“‘It represents a huge step in our plan to deploy more homegrown, clean energy,” he said.
No sites have been named as yet but Rolls-Royce has previously said that there was a “pretty high probability” Trawsfynydd could house the first reactor by the early 2030s and Wylfa is also understood to be one of the sites under consideration.
Plans for new nuclear reactors have however already attracted opposition in Wales. Anti-nuclear groups have already criticised the plans, saying that the emphasis should be placed on green renewable energy instead.
Dylan Morgan of PAWB (People Against Wylfa B) said in October: “We have an immediate crisis now. Building huge reactors at a nuclear power station take at least 15 years.
“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.”
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.