New nuclear power plant earmarked for North Wales

The Wylfa site - credit: © Horizon.

The government has selected Wylfa on Anglesey as the preferred site for the next large-scale nuclear power plant.

It is now kickstarting talks with global energy firms to explore building the new power plant, which could provide enough clean and reliable power for the equivalent of around six million homes for 60 years.

It brings the UK closer to its ambition for up to a quarter of its projected electricity needs to come from homegrown nuclear power by 2050, to strengthen the nation’s energy independence.

The government is exploring building a major nuclear power station, similar in scale to Hinkley in Somerset and Sizewell in Suffolk.

This new project would revive the nuclear history of Wylfa and bring thousands of jobs and investment to the area, boosting the local economy.

Wylfa, sitting on the North Wales coast, is ideally-suited to host a large-scale plant with its proximity to cooling water and its nuclear heritage.

Great British Nuclear - tasked with delivering the world’s fastest small modular reactor competition - recently secured Wylfa and Oldbury-on-Severn in Gloucestershire as two possible sites for new nuclear projects. 

It reached a £160m deal with Hitachi to purchase the sites in March.

It was the first time the government acquired land for new nuclear since the 1960s.

Secretary of state for energy security and net zero Claire Coutinho, said: “We are powering ahead with the biggest expansion of nuclear energy in 70 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 local area.”

The UK is delivering the biggest expansion to nuclear power in 70 years and suitable sites will be critical to meet ambitions to quadruple nuclear capacity by up to 24GW by 2050. 

This will come from a mix of traditional large-scale power plants and small modular reactors, which can be rolled out more quickly and at scale.

Meanwhile Great British Nuclear aims to announce successful bidders for the small modular reactor competition by the end of this year.

Gwen Parry-Jones CEO 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, added: “This is significant and welcome news for Wales that promises to bring thousands of high-quality jobs to the local economy.

“Alongside the revival of nuclear power at Wylfa, recent measures we have announced include a Freeport for Anglesey, £17m in Levelling Up money for Holyhead and electrification of the North Wales rail line which show that the UK government continues to deliver for Anglesey and for North Wales.”

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