Wylfa on Anglesey could get three new nuclear reactors as the Prime Minister is said to be ‘enthusiastic’ about accelerating plans in order to reach the UK’s future net-zero targets and close an energy black hole.
US nuclear company Westinghouse has put together a consortium with construction group Bechtel to revive plans for two nuclear reactors at Wylfa since Hitachi, a Japanese conglomerate, abandoned their own plans in 2019.
A consortium led by Rolls-Royce also wants to place one of their own ‘small’ modular reactors on the site.
According to the Financial Times, Boris Johnson is “enthusiastic about Wylfa’s prospects,” with one cabinet minister telling the newspaper he “has had something of an evangelical conversion, in the past few months”.
Ynys Môn MP Virginia Crosbie has also been enthusiastic about the plans, describing herself in the House of Commons as “the Atomic Kitten”.
However, Chancellor Rishi Sunak is said to be less enthusiastic given the cost to the taxpayer of financing such huge projects that would not be operational for decades, with a target of meeting the UK Government’s ‘net zero’ goal by 2050.
“With Rishi it’s not as if he is saying no to Wylfa, but there is a sense of caution in the Treasury which does seem to be delaying progress,” said one senior government official. The Chancellor wants to bring down spending in order to be able to cut taxes before the General Election which is expected to be in 2024.
More nuclear power at Wylfa is not without its critics with campaign groups CADNO and PAWB among the local opposition.
Writing for Nation.Cymru, Dylan Morgan of PAWB (People Against Wylfa B) warned that “nuclear power is a dirty, outdated, dangerous, vastly expensive technology which threatens both human and environmental health”.
“It would also steal much-needed resources from renewable technologies which are cheaper, much quicker to build and more effective to combat the effects of climate change.”
The original Wylfa power station became operational in 1971 and started decommissioning in 2015.