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Wylfa and Trawsfynydd named on shortlist for new Rolls-Royce nuclear reactors

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

Wylfa and Trawsfynydd have been named on a Rolls-Royce shortlist as the locations of new ‘small’ nuclear reactors.

The shortlist of four locations follows an assessment of former nuclear sites to see whether they were stable and large enough to house a nuclear reactor and connected to the power grid.

The four former nuclear sites shortlisted by Rolls-Royce are owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, and also include Sellafield in Cumbria and Oldbury near Bristol over the border in England.

The company, backed by Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, hope to mass-produce 30 reactors to kick-start a new shift towards nuclear power in Wales and England. Each Small Modular Reactor produced will generate about 470MW of power each for at least 60 years, they said.

They have been working with the Welsh Government’s Cwmni Egnio and will need the consent of Natural Resources Wales before placing the nuclear reactors in Trawsfynydd and Wylfa.

“Identifying the sites that can host our SMRs is a key step to our efficient deployment – the sooner that work can begin at site, the sooner we can deliver stable, secure supplies of low-carbon nuclear power from SMRs designed and built in the UK,” Tom Samson, chief executive of Rolls-Royce SMR, said.

David Peattie, chief executive of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, added: “We’re engaging with several potential partners to explore the use of land in our estate whilst utilising the NDA’s nuclear sector expertise to support the delivery of the UK Government’s energy security strategy.”

‘Reconsider’

Anti-nuclear campaigners in Wales have already raised fears about a plan to turn the country into a test-bed for the new generation of mini nuclear power plants.

Anti-nuclear campaigners CND Cymru, Cymdeithas y Cymod, CADNO, and PAWB released a statement last month opposing the plans and backing renewables instead.

“Wales is already a net exporter of electricity, and the investment into true renewables like wave, wind, tidal, and sun will be much more effective than the billions washed down the nuclear drain,” they said.

“We jointly call on the NDA to reconsider its support of nuclear development in Wales, and Trawsfynydd and Wylfa in particular, and further call on the UK and Welsh Government to invest in the green, clean, and renewable future of wave, wind, and sun that we all deserve.”

In September anti-nuclear campaigners have protested against plans for new nuclear power stations to be built in Wales with a 70-mile march across Gwynedd and Anglesey.


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Richard 1
Richard 1
27 days ago

Fantasy. No design approval even on the horizon. Nukes can’t be delivered in time to make any difference to climate change, and in fact are the third worst CO2 emitters. SMRs would be a terrorists’ wet dream; a source of proven causes of cancer and birth defects way in excess of official guestimates; and a diversion of investment away from real green energy — wind, wave, tidal — which we have in abundance and which could be delivered in time to save the climate.

cian
cian
27 days ago

“Fantasy. No design approval even on the horizon. Nukes can’t be delivered in time to make any difference to climate change, and in fact are the third worst CO2 emitters. SMRs would be a terrorists’ wet dream; a source of proven causes of cancer and birth defects way in excess of official guestimates; and a diversion of investment away from real green energy — wind, wave, tidal —which we have in abundance and which could be delivered in time to save the climate.”

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
26 days ago

Nuclear Power IS NO solution for Wales. It is too expensive and will not be ready in service for at least 5 years. The Uranium fuel would need to be imported from countries which may not be that stable. Plus, There is the problem of disposal of the radioactive waste. I do not think Wales wants to store this radioactive waste. If we concentrate our efforts in Wind Turbines. Yes, 20 large wind turbines could produce more power than the proposed nuclear plant on Ynys Mon. Wind farms can be constructed and running within a couple of months making us… Read more »

Neil Anderson
Neil Anderson
26 days ago

Be in no doubt. New nuclear in Cymru will effectively undermine independence. As I’ve said before (Nation.Cymru 12 April 2022)… While strategically and technically undesirable for many reasons, new nuclear would undermine our (real) independence in at least three ways.  We would be… 1.     … drawn again into reliance on the UK nuclear infrastructure for operational and other assistance 2.     … forced to continue UK-style security restrictions on our freedoms to ensure the integrity of the facilities 3.     … required to adopt the lack of transparency and accountability in the accompanying business structures that are characteristic of both civilian and nuclear industries globally There… Read more »

Steve Woods
Steve Woods
26 days ago

Until there is a definitive answer to what to do with nuclear waste – which these reactors will also be produce and of which this country already has a stockpile built up over 5 decades – these SMRs should not even be considered, particularly as the waste remains a hazard for centuries.

Jonathan Dean
Jonathan Dean
26 days ago
Reply to  Steve Woods

SMRs produce more waste per GW than large nuclear due to the higher specific surface area of the reactors

Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
26 days ago

It’s funny innit? The only “shortlists” Cymru gets on, are those for schytt that nobody wants on their doorstep.

Jonathan Dean
Jonathan Dean
26 days ago

Possibly 8 SMRs at Wylfa according to the press release … that will need two new lines of pylons across Anglesey and one new line through the Snowdonia National Park, and none of the power is needed in north Wales due to our offshore wind. They will also waste 60% of the energy into the sea as there are no large urban areas or industry in need if district heating. I don’t think this has been thought through

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
26 days ago

Angen tynnu’r ddau le felltith i lawr. Os oes ar Loegr eisiau trydan, coder gorsafoedd niwclear yno. Rydym eisoes yn cynhyrchu mwy na digon i ni ein hunain.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
26 days ago

Of course they could just be watching the football and talking Wales/Rolls Royce nuclear business, the Welsh Government and Vaughan Gething are ‘in it to win it’ and so is Qatar to the tune of 85 million pounds. How could the FM, as a fitting tribute to mark his time in the highest office in the land, not lead his country’s team into the World Cup…dirty business nuclear politics…

Charles Coombes
Charles Coombes
26 days ago

Waste of time. Wrong sponsors. Use tried and tested renewables at these sites. No gain for Wales, will be stck with reactors for next 100 years.

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