Nuclear Politics

UK / Government ‘Remains Committed’ To Wylfa Newydd Nuclear Project, Says Minister

By David Dalton
7 May 2021

‘Regular discussions’ being held with potential developers and investors
Government ‘Remains Committed’ To Wylfa Newydd Nuclear Project, Says Minister
A computer-generated image of the planned Wylfa Newydd nuclear power station. Courtesy Horizon.
The UK government remains committed to new nuclear investment at the Wylfa Newydd site in north Wales and is continuing to talk to potential developers, energy minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said.

The update came during an online meeting with the minister organised by involving MPs and a number of local authorities, the North Wales Chronicle reported.

During the talk, the minister said: “We all appreciate that Wylfa Newydd is a great site and we have the commitment within our energy white paper and the 10-point government plan that new nuclear investment is a critical part of our energy mix going forwards.

“We have regular discussions with a number of potential developers and investors and that will continue because we are absolutely committed to having at least one more large-scale nuclear plant.”

In January, developers behind Wylfa Newydd officially cancelled the project, despite saying they had held “positive and encouraging” talks with multiple parties that had expressed an interest in moving ahead with new reactors at the site.

Japan’s Hitachi has told staff it was shutting its Horizon subsidiary, which was to build two UK advanced boiling water reactor (UK ABWR) units at Wylfa. The cost of the project had been put at about £20bn.

Horizon announced on Thursday it had officially withdrawn its application for planning permission for the construction and operation of the station and associated infrastructure.

In a letter to the planning inspectorate, Horizon chief executive officer Duncan Hawthorne said discussions with multiple parties “have not, unfortunately, led to any definitive proposal that would have allowed the transfer of the sites to some new development entity willing to replace Hitachi Ltd”.

Hitachi announced the suspension of the project in January 2019 and its intent to withdraw entirely in September 2020.

The UK has two EPR units under construction at Hinkley Point C – the only commercial nuclear plants being built in the country. Sizewell C is the only new-build project in the UK for which planning permission is being sought.

Three projects – Wylfa, Moorside and Oldbury – have either been cancelled or shelved, largely because of financing problems, while Bradwell remains in the early technical stages.

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