State backed South Korean power firm in talks to build Wylfa B on Anglesey

Wylfa power station
Wylfa power station -Credit:Arwyn Roberts

A state backed power giant from South Korea is in talks with UK Government over Wylfa. The UK Government bought the Wylfa site from Hitachi this year for £160m in a bid to kickstart nuclear development on Anglesey.

This follows two failed attempts by developers to construct a new power station on the island - with Hitachi giving up on Wylfa Newydd in 2021 after failing to reach a viable funding deal. The government in London is now searching for potential options and considering Wylfa for either a large scale scheme or multiple small modular reactors (SMRs), although this technology remains under development for commercial use.

Now the Financial Times has reported that South Korea’s state energy monopoly Kepco has held early stage talks with UK officials and a ministerial meeting is expected this coming week. The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (Desnez) said: “Wylfa has excellent potential and we welcome the interest of all parties who are looking to invest in UK nuclear projects.” Read more: Wales tourism tax: What we know so far about visitor levy, from when it's coming in to who will pay

But a Korean official told the FT that building nuclear power stations in the UK was “difficult”.

A consortium including US construction group Bechtel and US nuclear company Westinghouse has already proposed building a new plant on the Wylfa site using Westinghouse’s AP1000 reactor technology. But their recent Vogtle project in Georgia was $20bn over budget and seven years late so UK Government will want options over concerns that UK taxpayers and energy billpayers could be lumbered with additional costs.

The government wants the UK to have 24GW of nuclear capacity by 2050, compared with roughly 6GW today. One industry source said UK Government quango Great British Nuclear(GBN) needed to make a decision on Wylfa over whether to back a large scale scheme or a cluster of SMRs.

GBN last week dropped Trawsfynydd from the initial rollout of SMRs in the UK.

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