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Welsh Government invited to compete with English regions for small nuclear reactors factory site

24 Jan 2022 3 minute read
Trawsfynydd nuclear power station across the lake. Picture by William M. Connolley (CC BY-SA 3.0).

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.

‘Dangerous’

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.”


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Grayham Jones
8 months ago

Not in wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Carol James
Carol James
8 months ago

Sadly they will Harry. Many people don’t understand the energy sector and think that we can “save the planet” by planting a few trees and erecting 500 foot turbines. Ludicrous!

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
8 months ago

Ah, yes. To be lumped in with the English regions akin to scrambling around when the bride throws up her bouquet with the ensuing cat fight. Let me get this straight. Who makes the decision and bids on behalf of the English regions? Yes, the English Government. And what is the parameter for bidding. Is it location? How cheaper or willing the said area is to locate the would-be reactor? Reason I ask. This is likely a done deal anyway , a Tory in-house decision and areas have already been chosen. Whitehall are merely going through the motions so to… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Y Cymro
I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
8 months ago

They want our money to create jobs. Create own jobs, not one million years of problems.

hdavies15
hdavies15
8 months ago

Why should anyone be called to bid for these sites ? Is this another round of grant grabbing by large scale corporates already wealthy enough to fund their own projects but fixated on draining the public purse ? Global corporates have already done well enough out of our country getting land issued free or at knocked down prices and a mix of grants and soft loans that have been eye watering. What have we got to show for it ? Too much unemployment, too many low paid jobs, too few loans ever repaid and very little if any of the… Read more »

Llyn expat
Llyn expat
8 months ago

”we need more good, high-skilled industries to reduce reliance on tourism”

”oh no, not like that”

Wales needs to choose. No amount of government subsidy or regulatory mandate can sustain our Welsh language without a sound economic future for the areas on which it is the language of everyday life. Cyngor Gwynedd should be doing everything it can to get one of those reactors to Trawsfynedd.

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
8 months ago
Reply to  Llyn expat

There are lots of other things that could be done in Wales to produce good long term jobs with the kind of money being promised that do not include seriously dangerous waste. We need to remember that Wales is being chosen because it is remote from London and the Tory MPs in Wales will always tow the line.

Perhaps those of us who disagree with this daft scheme should write to the Welsh Government (Julie James MS, Minister for Climate Chage) and say so in the clearest of terms.

Gareth
Gareth
8 months ago

I find it telling that Germany has, since 2012, been decommissioning nuclear power stations with the aim of going nuclear free. If its good enough for a successful economy like the one Germany has, then its good enough for us. Given a choice of the German or UK economy and standard of living I would go with the German model and likewise dump nuclear ‘power.

Rhys
Rhys
8 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

I have mixed feelings… Renewable sources like solar panels are not efficient, panels have a short life, are non recyclable, full of lead and toxic chemicals and utterly useless in Wales. Wind power produces a laughable amount of electricity. Nuclear is relatively safe and with 0 Co2 emissions when done properly…
Yes Germany decommissioned all their nuclear plants. In contrast, most of France electricity is nuclear. I invite you to check how much consumers in each country pay for their electricity. I am sure you will reconsider.

Phil
Phil
8 months ago

They’re going out to tender?? … This seems to be a change. I thought They normally get handed to Matt Hancocks’ sisters’ husbands’ auntie or Dido Harding!

Phil
Phil
8 months ago

I take it that ‘Rolls Royce, BNF Resources and US Generator Exelon Generation are putting in more than the £210 mentioned in paragraph 9. Otherwise it works out at £70 each!

Charlie Perkins
Charlie Perkins
8 months ago

If nuclear power means that we can rapidly reduce the load on fossil fuel power plants, then it’s a fantastic idea. From there we can ween ourselves onto proper renewables, and reduce the load on nuclear power when we have more time, and when renewables become more efficient (most solar panels are only 20% efficient, though some 50% ones exist). Nuclear is much cleaner than coal. Due to both the impurities in coal and carbon-14, the amount radiation emitted from coal ash is much higher than the nuclear waste from a nuclear power plant of the same power. And nuclear… Read more »

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
8 months ago

Nuclear is less efficient than solar – only 18% of energy is captured (Unless you have CHP which did not go well at all for the Ukraine in 1986).
The nuclear waste needs to be disposed of ? Where?
When a nuclear station is decommissioned it remains as a red dwarf for hundreds of years.

Let’s concentrate our efforts on Wind, Tidal, Wave, Solar etc.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
8 months ago

One of these nukes is supposed to be able to supply the whole of Dyfed, Powys, Gwynedd, Clwyd and 80% of Gwent.
Why two close together in darkest North West Wales? Will there be five inside the M25 because that’s where the demand lies?

Quornby
Quornby
8 months ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

England got the coal and Wales got the s**g. I don’t think this will be much different.

Last edited 8 months ago by Quornby
Quornby
Quornby
8 months ago
Reply to  Quornby

s**g.

Aled Rees
Aled Rees
8 months ago

Dim diolch.

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