Plans for the Wylfa Newydd power station on Anglesey have been given a boost by a report from the Nuclear APPG (All-Party Parliamentary Group) which calls for the government to make urgent decisions on the project’s future.
The report – Net Zero Needs Nuclear: A Roadmap to 2024 – says the government should commit to at least one additional nuclear power plant by the middle of 2024.
Wylfa is seen as one of the best nuclear sites in Europe and would be a key contender for this investment. However, Horizon Nuclear Power officially withdrew its planning application for the proposed power station in January.
The APPG report highlights the need to restore UK nuclear capacity to at least 10Gw by the early 2030s, based on deployable technologies.
It also emphasises the importance of cutting emissions and preserving the UK’s nuclear skills base, with most of the nuclear fleet to retire by March 2024 and all but one station by 2030.
Ynys Môn MP Virginia Crosbie, who is vice-chair of the APPG, emphasised the potential of the Wylfa site.
“Sites like Wylfa Newydd in my constituency of Ynys Môn are primed for new nuclear investment,” she said.
“Should the government back a new financing model and take this road map forward, we can begin building the new stations we need. With most of our fleet retiring in three years it is vital that we move forward with sites like Wylfa Newydd.”
ECIU analyst Jess Ralston has said the setbacks for Wylfa and Hinkley Point C’s recent cost rise has added to the uncertainty surrounding the funding of the nuclear industry.
The government has, however, said it is still very “keen” to find a developer for the Wylfa site.
Going forward, the APPG report emphasises the need for the government “to introduce legislation for a new nuclear financing model”.
It says: “Financing is the costliest part of new construction, so government support would drive investor confidence and make it cheaper to fund and build new stations.”
Nuclear Industry Association chief executive Tom Greatrex added that “only nuclear can replace nuclear”.
“With urgent action from government, the industry is ready, willing and able to provide firm power capacity, through large and small reactors designs, to cut emissions and create good jobs across this country,” he said.
“Nuclear technologies alone can produce always-on, low carbon power, and options for clean heat and hydrogen going forward. With most of our fleet retiring, we need urgent investment in large and small scale nuclear projects to realise the promise of a net zero future.”
The government has signalled that large nuclear power projects do have a future in the UK, with prime minister Boris Johnson backing them in his 10 point plan for a green industrial revolution before including nuclear developments in the Energy White Paper.
The 10 point plan also committed £525M “to help develop large and smaller-scale nuclear plants, and research and develop new advanced modular reactors”.
Department of Civil Engineering https://www.ibu.edu.ba/department-of-civil-engineering/