The UK government is negotiating the construction of a new multibillion-pound nuclear power facility in Wales.
The new facility, which would be built on Anglesey in Wales, is being negotiated with reactor maker Westinghouse as part of the UK’s attempts to cut carbon emissions to zero by 2050.
In the mid-2030s, a new nuclear power station at the decommissioned Wylfa site might provide enough electricity to power six million homes.
The proposal is thought to be appealing to the new Energy Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, who is concerned about growing electricity prices and the fact that nuclear will only contribute 8% of the UK’s energy by 2024.
Welsh Secretary Simon Hart is also promoting the proposal. Projects larger than 350MW are designated for Westminster and can be implemented without the Welsh Government’s approval.
According to the New York Times, there is now “growing backing” for the plan to move forward. Last September, an attempt to develop a nuclear power plant at Wylfa with Hitachi fell down.
“If our current situation shows anything it is that we need more stable homegrown, low carbon generation in the UK,” the source said. “This is an important project that we’re very keen to try and get off the ground.”
A nuclear power station is already under construction at Hinkley Point in Somerset, but it has sparked controversy after mud was thrown off the coast of Cardiff.
The Welsh Government’s ambitions to build a small modular reactor at Wylfa could be thwarted by the UK Government’s plans. Trawsfynydd has also been suggested as a potential site.
Rolls-Royce designed the tiny nuclear reactor, which is pending certification in the United Kingdom. Already, the business has stated that one might be installed in Trawsfynydd by the early 2030s with a “quite high possibility.”
Tom Samson, chief executive of the Rolls-Royce-led consortium, told the Financial Times that “Wales, in particular, holds significant potential” for small modular reactors.
PAWB and CADNO, anti-nuclear campaign groups, have spoken out against proposals for further nuclear power, arguing that the sites should be used to develop renewable and sustainable technology.
“There is not enough proof that the technology will have been developed enough to make a difference in the critical fight against climate change in time,” they said.
In addition, limited public resources that support nuclear mean that those resources are not available to truly green and sustainable technologies.
“Climate change, homelessness, poverty, inequality – these are the complex problems of our time. The nuclear obsession does nothing to solve these problems; it adds to them. ”