Anglesey backed as location for first of new wave of nuclear power stations

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Interest in the possibility of turning Wylfa into a site for new nuclear power plants since the dismantling of its current plant has existed for years.

But support for the new US project is such that Mr Hart will visit one of Westinghouse’s nuclear power plants in the US state of Georgia during an official trip to America this week.


Why nuclear-powered stars are starting to align

“Nuclear energy is incomparably greater than the molecular energy we use today… What is missing is the match to light the bonfire.”

As a renowned pioneer of many things in history, nuclear power isn’t exactly what Winston Churchill is instantly recognizable for. Yet, as always, his foresight and attention to the big issues of the future were meticulous.

In the decades following Churchill’s words, nuclear energy would dominate international debate for far worse reasons than he himself had predicted. The divisions between East and West were inseparable from the nuclear paradox.

In 2022, the debate has come full circle and we are once again obsessed with the more appealing side of nuclear power, building on the vision Churchill had nearly 100 years ago. It is a great source of disheartening and satirical irony that at a time when relations between Russia and the West are at their coldest, nuclear energy is again at the center of discussions.

The ruthless Russian invasion of Ukraine has put national energy security back on the agenda of many countries around the world and, although the UK depends on Russia for only a small part of our supply, it is also at the top of the government’s agenda.

Yes, it is true that other countries are in a much more precarious situation, but we in government take the situation very seriously. We need to regain control of our energy supplies, and we need low-carbon electricity more than ever.

Nuclear must play a greater role

Over the past few weeks, the Prime Minister has been very outspoken with his views on the role nuclear should play in that ambition. It’s a reliable and powerful source of energy, and we need to give it a much bigger role in our energy supply than it has in recent decades.

This in no way contradicts our ambitions for a low-carbon future, and we are not just focusing on nuclear in the traditional sense. The industry has undergone rapid developments in recent years, and within nuclear energy itself there is a diverse range of technologies that we will exploit.

Small modular reactors will give us more flexibility to harness this energy source, overcoming some of the restrictions that are an integral part of large power plants. These are the smaller fires separate from the main bonfire, requiring much less space and easier to assemble.

And then there’s nuclear fusion, based on a different scientific process (splitting or colliding; traditional fission is the splitting of nuclear atoms, and fusion is when nuclear atoms come together). Harnessing the same power used by the sun, nuclear fusion will transform our energy infrastructure. Instead of lighting our bonfires with matches, we are now starting to use lighters.

The UK has the potential to lead the world in both areas, and a combination of these with other renewable energy sources such as offshore wind and tidal power will provide a winning recipe for self-resilience. full of green energy. Nuclear alone means thousands of homes powered and tens of thousands of highly skilled jobs created. Wales is best placed to drive this nuclear growth.

We have played a central role in scientific history, having played a role in the development of the atomic bomb at Rhydymwyn Valley Works near Mold, Flintshire. This involved the development of a thin membrane through which the uranium hexafluoride passed, a membrane manufactured by Mond Nickel Company in Clydach, near Swansea. At the time, it was the only place in the world that could produce nickel for membranes.

An unparalleled opportunity

But now we have to start writing the next chapter of this story, and the nuclear-powered stars are already beginning to align. Wales has only ever had two nuclear power stations, both of which are now decommissioned. One is on Anglesey in the form of Wylfa, and the other is in Trawsfynydd, Gwynedd. Experts say these sites are some of the best in Europe, let alone the UK.

For large-scale nuclear, like Hinkley Point, Wylfa Newydd offers an unparalleled opportunity and continues to attract the attention of nuclear developers from key allies around the world.

Local support is resolute, and it’s an infrastructure project that could transform the whole of North Wales while creating thousands of jobs. Trawsfynydd, meanwhile, is the smallest of the team, but his credentials are just as impressive. Rolls-Royce (which has designed a small modular reactor and is one of the main manufacturers of this emerging technology) has previously said there is a “fairly high probability” that Trawsfynydd could house the first SMRs in the early 2030s. .

All of these opportunities lend themselves to the creation of a North Wales nuclear arc, a center of nuclear excellence. This delivers on all of the government’s key programs – upgrading, strengthening the union and achieving net zero.

Soon the Prime Minister and the Business Secretary will present the Energy Security Strategy, of which nuclear energy will be a central part, and I will be visiting the United States to discuss with partners how Wales can contribute to the success of the joint ambitions of the United States and the United Kingdom. More than a bonfire, North Wales can become the beacon of the nuclear world.


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