Wylfa and Trawsfynydd among frontrunners to host new mini nuclear reactors
Rolls-Royce has confirmed it wants to site a new mini nuclear reactor in the north of Wales.
According to the Financial Times, Wylfa on Anglesey and Trawsfynydd in Gwynedd, are both in the running to host the UK’s first small modular reactor (SMR), along with Dungeness in Kent and Moorside in west Cumbria.
Rolls-Royce, which is leading a consortium developing the mini reactors, is reportedly considering buying the Wylfa site outright from Hitachi, which abandoned plans to build a large reactor there two years ago after failing to reach a funding deal with the UK Government on the construction and start-up costs of the plant.
It is also set to open talks with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority about leasing disused nuclear sites as locations for a series of the mini reactors across the UK.
A spokesperson for the company told the FT its’ reactors would be designed to be deployed on a range of locations in the UK, “potentially including sites within the NDA estate,” adding: “As part of our development, we need to identify a pipeline of sites to allow us to deploy a fleet of SMRs — including in North Wales and West Cumbria.”
The consortium 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.
Last December It was announced that the Qatar Investment Authority had ploughed £85m into the project, which now has total funding of £490m.
The UK Government had previously announced they would match a £245m investment made by the consortium which consists of Rolls-Royce, BNF Resources and Exelon Generation.
Rolls-Royce claims a single SMR power station will occupy the footprint of two football pitches and power approximately one million homes, with up to 90% of the plant built or assembled in factory conditions.
Plans for the new nuclear reactors have already attracted opposition in Wales from Anti-nuclear groups who are calling for the emphasis to be placed on green renewable energy instead.
Dylan Morgan of PAWB (People Against Wylfa B) said last year:“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“The UK and Welsh governments should divert resources and support away from wasteful and outdated nuclear power projects towards developing renewable technologies that are much cheaper and can provide faster and more sustainable solutions to the energy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.”
The consortium led by Rolls-Royce is expected to whittle down its preferred sites list before the end of 2022 but a final decision will not be made for another 12-18 months.
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