Small modular power plant planned for Snowdonia

Posted on 24 May 2022

Small modular power plant planned for Snowdonia

A new small nuclear power station is being planned at Trawsfynydd in Snowdonia, prime minister Boris Johnson has confirmed in a speech to the Welsh Conservative party conference in Newtown.

He said the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and Cwmni Egino will now work together on proposals for the siting of a new nuclear development at Trawsfynydd, north Wales.

The NDA site at Trawsfynydd is home to a Magnox station which is being decommissioned by Magnox Ltd, a subsidiary of the NDA. The NDA also owns land outside the Magnox site boundary which could be used for a new nuclear development.

As part of this new arrangement, the NDAwill share information about the characteristics of the available land at the Trawsfynydd site, its decommissioning plans (to support schedule and work-force planning) and support development company Cwmni Egino in the development of its socio-economic plans.

It will also offer an opportunity for Cwmni Egino to engage with potential developers and technology providers who wish to participate in the development of the Trawsfynydd site.

Cwmni Egino hopes to be in a position to confirm their outline business proposition within the year.

It is also engaged with the newly created government body Great British Nuclear, led by Simon Bowen, which will bring forward new projects.

NDA chief executive David Peattie said the NDA is "committed to helping the government in supporting its energy goals", while Magnox chief executive Gwen Parry-Jones said the collaboration is "fantastic news for Trawsfynydd and affirms our mission to safely clean-up the site for other uses".

Cwmni Egino chief executive Alan Raymant added: "Our relationship withNDAand Magnox is critical to the successful delivery of our vision for the development of new nuclear at Trawsfynydd. This collaboration agreement provides the foundation for a fruitful partnership that will bring benefits to the local community and help deliver the Energy Security Strategy."

It comes after Johnson last month threw his support behind plans to build a nuclear power station at the Wylfa site on Anglesey- which means Wales could be getting two new nuclear power plants.

Rolls-Royce SMR chief executive Tom Samson welcomed the Trawsfynydd news. Rolls-Royce submitted designs for small reactors at Wylfa and Trawsfynydd, both in Wales, in March.

Samson said: “Identifying sites is a key milestone for us and this location offers existing grid connection, infrastructure, access to a highly skilled workforce and strong relationships with a supportive engaged community. The land around the Magnox site at Trawsfynydd has great potential for Small Modular Reactors.

“Cwmni Egino has the right leadership to move the project forward at pace, and that’s matched by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s commitment to delivering its mission in a way that promotes regional economic and social regeneration.

“We are the UK’s domestic nuclear energy champion and we’re strongly targeting sites in North Wales and West Cumbria for the first in a fleet of UK-built SMR power stations.”

Rolls-Royce SMR is expecting to receive UK regulatory approval for its SMR by mid-2024 with a view to powering up by 2029 – two years ahead of schedule.

The first of the SMRs was expected to come online in the early 2030s. However, in March the British manufacturer expressed frustration that the UK government had not accelerated the regulatory process in reaction to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Going forward, SMRs, alongside large-scale nuclear plants, are seen as a crucial tool in the country’s battle against the energy crisis and drive towards net zero. The government established a new body called Great British Nuclear in conjunction with the release of its energy security strategy with the aim of facilitating the growth of nuclear power on the grid.

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