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Welsh nuclear power plant ‘should be half built by now’, says Labour

08 Mar 2024 4 minute read
Wylfa Power Station. Picture: Andrew Woodvine (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Martin Shipton

Shadow Welsh Secretary Jo Stevens has called on the UK Government to “get on with delivering new nuclear power” as research suggested the new nuclear plant planned for Ynys Môn would already be half built if it hadn’t been delayed.

Ms Stevens spoke after visiting the dormant Wylfa site with Labour’s Ynys Môn parliamentary candidate, Ieuan Môn Williams.

Despite the Chancellor announcing the government has now finally purchased the site, the project has, said Ms Stevens, been stalled for five years, and there are still no plans or timelines for delivery. In 2019 Hitachi suspended its plans for Wylfa, before formally withdrawing in 2020.

Research from the Nuclear Industry Association suggests that the project would now be 50% completed if it had progressed as planned, creating up to 8,500 construction jobs. Some 900 permanent jobs would be well on the way, adding £90m to the local economy every year.

Gas imports

The project will also cut five billion cubic metres of gas imports and eight million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

Wylfa is routinely described as one of the best sites for nuclear power in the UK. All but one of the UK’s nine currently operational civil nuclear reactors are scheduled to shut down by the end of this decade, and Labour says that Conservative governments have done nothing in 14 years to begin to replace this vital capacity.

As part of ambitions to achieve clean power by 2030 and beyond, Labour says it will back new large-scale reactors in places like Wylfa, get new nuclear projects at Hinkley and Sizewell over the line, and facilitate the development of new advanced nuclear technologies such as Small Modular Reactors. This, the party says, is in addition to pioneering floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea, tripling solar power and doubling onshore wind.

Shadow Welsh Secretary Jo Stevens said: “Successive Tory governments have failed to build a single nuclear power plant that will provide lower carbon power, boost energy security and create jobs.

“It’s been five years since Ministers watched as the previous plans for Wylfa fell through. That project would have been 50% completed by now, and we’d be seeing the benefits of thousands of construction jobs with almost 1,000 more permanent jobs on the way.

“After 14 years it’s high time the people of north Wales had a UK government they could rely on to deliver. Labour will back the building of new nuclear in places like Wylfa, unlocking the transformative potential of investment and jobs the Tories have left dormant.”

Action

Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Ynys Môn, Ieuan Môn Williams, said: “Having worked in the energy sector for several years, I saw first-hand how this Conservative government stood idly by and allowed the Wylfa Newydd project to fail. We need an MP who is serious about action. If elected, I’ll work with a Labour Government to ensure we put spades in the ground.

“Ynys Môn is the energy island, not just the nuclear island, and I will proudly advocate for Wylfa alongside home-grown renewables such as marine power and floating offshore wind as part of a balanced, clean energy mix.”

When the purchase of Wyfa by the UK Government was announced on March 6, Welsh Secretary David TC Davies said: “The acquisition of Wylfa as a site for new nuclear development is fantastic news for Anglesey and the wider Welsh economy. It’s the next step on our path to an energy secure and net zero future, while also laying the foundations for a huge economic boost.”

Negative

Responding to Labour’s comments, Ynys Môn Tory MP Virginia Crosbie said: “What a shame Labour has to be so negative about such a positive development.

“I’m not too interested in their views to be honest. I’m more about delivering Wylfa for Ynys Môn because the people deserve it. I’ll be judged on that just like Labour should be judged on its utter neglect of the island I love and the fact it never commissioned a single nuclear power station during its 1997 to 2010 term of power.

“A dereliction of duty that has saddled the UK with the severe energy security problems this government is committed to rectifying now.”


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Neil Anderson
Neil Anderson
1 month ago

Nuclear is on a road to nowhere worth going. Let’s get them to fully clean up the existing mess at Wylfa and at Trawsfynydd before they start creating more untreatable radioactive waste, and plutonium for weapons. It takes at least £3m to create one full-time job in the nuclear sector. That amount could probably create 50 jobs in the solar and wind industries, at minuscule risk to their or our health, or our agriculture. Anything nuclear is a closed environment beyond accountability from which little reliable data ever emerges. Let’s say, the number of non-disclosure agreements signed by former staff… Read more »

Jeff
Jeff
1 month ago

How many heat pumps and solar panels, turbines and attics well insulated can we get before this ever power the first light bulb.

karl
karl
1 month ago

Shouldn’t exist more like. Nuclear in its current form is a disaster. You go past Trawsfynydd cycling and feel of unease. We don’t need more problems, we need solutions that lets life thrive.

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago

Jo should sit back and reflect on why it takes almost all parties a long time to ponder matters nuclear. Deep down even the most enthusiastic protagonist is uneasy about safety at some or all points of the process. Generation is tightly managed due to its vulnerability and no one has a solution for the long life waste. Not a safe option and not cost effective either.

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