Wylfa named as preferred site for new mega nuclear power station by UK Government

Wylfa. -Credit:Ian Cooper/North Wales Live
Wylfa. -Credit:Ian Cooper/North Wales Live

Wylfa in north Wales has been identified by the UK Government as its preferred location for a new mega nuclear power station. If delivered it would create thousands of new jobs during its construction phase.

The Westminster government said it has commenced talks with global energy firms to explore building the new power plant, which could provide enough power for six million homes over 60 years.

Great British Nuclear, the at arm’s length of UK Government quango, recently secured for £160m Wylfa and Oldbury-on-Severn in Gloucestershire as two possible sites for new nuclear projects. It was the first time the government acquired land for new nuclear since the 1960s.

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The Anglesey site has long been mooted for a new power plant. However, to date a financial model to make such a project viable for private sector investment has proved elusive. Japanese industrial giant Hitachi abandoned its plans back in 2019, writing off £2.1bn in the process. For the latest Welsh news delivered to your inbox sign up to our newsletter.

Earlier this week Korean state-owned energy giant Kepco was linked to a new project, with executives having held early stage talks with the UK Government.

With only Hinkley Point C under construction, the UK Government is desperately seeking a new wave of reactors - alongside the potential for smaller but more agile and quicker to deliver modular nuclear reactors. The Westminster administration wants to see 24GW of nuclear capacity by 2050, compared to the current 6GW.

New plant plans have already been put forward at Wylfa from a US consortium consisting of construction firm Betchel and nuclear venture Westinghouse using its AP1000 reactor technology.

Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, Claire Coutinho, said: “We are powering ahead with the biggest expansion of nuclear energy in seventy years.

“Anglesey has a proud nuclear history and it is only right that, once again, it can play a central role in boosting the UK’s energy security.

“Wylfa would not only bring clean, reliable power to millions of homes – it could create thousands of well-paid jobs and bring investment to the whole of North Wales.”

Gwen Parry-Jones, chief executive of Great British Nuclear, said: "Having agreed to purchase the Wylfa site earlier this year, GBN looks forward to working with the Government on the market engagement programme for large scale gigawatt providers and also delivering this vital project in the years to come.”

Secretary of State for Wales David TC Davies said: “This is significant and welcome news for Wales that promises to bring thousands of high-quality jobs to the local economy. The UK Government continues to deliver for Anglesey and for North Wales.”

Sue Ferns, senior deputy general secretary of Prospect union, said: “Wylfa represents the best site in Europe for a large-scale nuclear power station. With this announcement this has now been recognised by the UK government.

“Gigawatt scale new nuclear power stations are vital to hitting net zero and for our energy security. But they also maintain well paid and highly skilled jobs, meaning this project would be a major boost to the Welsh economy.

“Now we need a laser-like focus on delivery of new nuclear to make sure skills and experience are not lost, and costs are reduced as we progress.”

Labour’s Shadow Welsh Secretary Jo Stevens said: “Any progress is welcome but people on Ynys Môn (Anglesey) will believe it when they see it. Successive Tory governments have failed to build a single nuclear power plant that will provide lower carbon power, boost energy security and create jobs.

“It’s been five years since ministers sat back and watched as the previous plans for Wylfa fell through. That project would have been 50% completed by now, and we’d be seeing the benefits of thousands of construction jobs with almost a thousand more permanent jobs on the way.

“After 14 years it’s high time people had a UK government they could rely on to deliver. Labour will back the building of new nuclear in places like Wylfa, unlocking the transformative potential of investment and jobs the Tories have left dormant.”

Any investment at Wylfa could potentially require the UK Government taking an equity stake and the multi-billion-pound construction cost getting support from the so called regulated asset base model, where consumers make a contribution in their bills during the construction phase.