Why UK Government nuclear quango has ruled out Trawsfynydd from initial mini-nuke rollout

The decommissioned Trawsfynydd power station -Credit:Daily Post Wales
The decommissioned Trawsfynydd power station -Credit:Daily Post Wales

A UK Government nuclear quango has dropped Trawsfynydd from the initial rollout of small modular reactors. Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson had said in 2022 that the UK Government are "looking to build another small modular reactor(SMR) on the site at Trawsfynydd".

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and Welsh Government owned Cwmni Egino had been working up plans for a new nuclear station close to the former power station, which stopped generating in 1991 and is in the long process of being decommissioned. The location had also previously been tipped by Rolls Royce SMR as a location for an SMR.

But those hopes have been dealt a blow after Great British Nuclear(GBN) said the site would not be considered in its initial rollout phase. It is understood the size of the site and the volume of cooling water counted against it. They also said it may not be able to deploy as quickly as some other sites.

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It has though not been ruled out completely and could play a part in the future. A source explained that the initial rollout was looking at locations that could host four or five SMRs, which Traws does not have capacity for.

But once these larger sites are developed a further rollout would consider smaller sites that could host one or two SMRs, with would put the Gwynedd site back in contention.

On Anglesey, UK Government is buying the Wylfa site in a bid to progress nuclear development on the island after two failed attempts for a Wylfa B. This could be used for four or five SMRs or a single large scale nuclear power station.

A spokesperson for GBN said: "GBN recognises the good progress made by Cwmni Egino to understand the potential of the Trawsfynydd site for nuclear development and the considerable expertise the team brings to the industry and will continue to work alongside them.

"For the first phase of SMR deployment, Trawsfynydd might not be able to deploy quite as quickly as some other potential sites and might not offer the same potential for generation capacity, but it is an interesting site for future nuclear development."

GBN's plans for its first phase of work for SMRs proposes to make decisions on investments by 2029, with power on the grid by the mid-2030s.

Welsh Government has recently cut its budget for Cwmni Egino's from £2m to £500,000.

The budget cut was criticised by Conservative politicians, including Aberconwy MS Janet Finch Saunders but the Welsh Government told BBC Wales that they took the decision because of the lack of support from GBN at this current stage.

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