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New nuclear project 'must work for the people of Ynys Mn,' says council leader

New nuclear project 'must work for the people of Ynys Mn,' says council leader

 


The Magnox Wylfa nuclear power station on Anglesey. Credit – Ian Capper, geography.org.uk

Martin Shipton

Any future development at the Wylfa site must benefit the people of Ynys Mn before anyone else, according to the leader of Anglesey Council.

Llinos Medi was reacting to news that interim negotiations were underway to resurrect the idea of ​​a new nuclear power plant there.

Reports suggest negotiations have begun between state-owned Great British Nuclear – the nuclear development vehicle first mooted by Boris Johnson when he was prime minister – and Hitachi to take control of the Wylfa site on Ynys Min. This follows the abandonment of the Wylfa Newydd project in 2019 by Hitachi.

Following recent changes to the UK government's strategy on nuclear projects, an unnamed UK government minister suggested to the Financial Times that early discussions have begun about acquiring this land, although a deal may not be reached. concluded before the general elections scheduled for later this year. .

Fake old

Ms Medi, who is also a Plaid Cymrus general election candidate for Ynys Mn, said: As council leader I played a key role in ensuring that previous developments in Wylfa benefited the community and the local population, only for the British Conservative government to abandon us. the last obstacle by not putting in place a financing model.

We have had too many false dawns from the UK Conservative Government and if they are serious about developing a project on the Wylfa site this time, the same fundamental principle of ensuring that it benefits local people and to the community must be at the heart of every decision. decision.

We need a clear calendar of events so that we can guarantee jobs for our local population. Any development must benefit the people of Ynys Mn before anyone else.

Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, welcomed news of the negotiations, describing Wylfa as “one of the best sites for new nuclear in the UK”.

“The success of scaling up nuclear to the levels needed for energy security and net zero depends largely on our development at Wylfa,” he said.

Pressure

Ynys Mn. Virginia Crosbie also welcomed the development and said she would “continue to keep the pressure on until the contracts are signed.”

“The nuclear industry is unanimous that Wylfa is the best site in Europe for a large-scale nuclear installation,” she said, adding that it would be “the largest foreign investment” of Welsh history and “transformative” for the people of North West Wales. .

Hitachi, which has also suspended work at another site it owns in Oldbury, Gloucestershire, said it would “continue to discuss with interested parties the future of the sites”.

In January 2019, Hitachisaid he was suspending workat the 13 billion Wylfa Newydd factory due to rising costs. He had been in talks with the British government about funding the project, which were unsuccessful. The project was expected to create approximately 9,000 jobs during construction. The British government told the BBC that while no decisions on the sites have yet been made, it was “working with Great British Nuclear to facilitate access to potential sites for new nuclear projects.”

Potential sites

A spokesperson for the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero said: “Wylfa is one of several potential sites that could host civil nuclear projects. »

Nuclear power is set to become a key part of the UK's energy mix, and the spokesperson added that the department had recently launched a roadmap “setting out the biggest expansion of the sector in 70 years”. The rejuvenation of Wylfa is part of this wider government initiative. The UK must accelerate its efforts to reach the target of 24 gigawatts (GW) of nuclear capacity by 2050.

Electricité de France SA (EDF) recently announced that its Hinkley Point nuclear project, the UK's largest energy project, would require additional investment of up to €10 billion and would take several years longer than expected. In addition, the British government also declared an additional 1.3 billion for the Sizewell C nuclear power station, in a bid to attract private capital.

It is believed that Wylfa could accommodate cutting-edge nuclear infrastructure likesmall modular reactors (SMR). The government is optimistic that SMRs will simplify and reduce the cost of building nuclear power plants.

THENuclear Destination Campaignpredicts that the number of employees in the industry will need to double over the next 20 years to enable a possible quadrupling of production.

The Great British Nuclear project was first announced as part of a plan to supply 95% of the UK's electricity from low-carbon sources, including nuclear power.

These smaller, transportable reactors have a capacity of up to 300 MW(e) per unit and will form the backbone of the GBN project.

According to last year's spring budget: Small modular reactors will be Great British Nuclear's initial priority, but other gigawatt-scale projects will also be considered in the future.

Hunt also announced that nuclear power would be redefined as green energy in the UK, contributing to the goal of net zero emissions. The aim was to encourage private sector investment in the nuclear program.


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