Posted: Fri 29th May 2020

“Real enthusiasm” for Wylfa Newydd nuclear planet on Anglesey claims Welsh Secretary

North Wales news and information
This article is old - Published: Friday, May 29th, 2020

There is “real enthusiasm” for a new nuclear plant on Anglesey, according to the Secretary of State for Wales, claiming that Wylfa Newydd would “tick all the boxes” in terms of economic recovery in north Wales.

Hoped to be completed by the middle of the 2020s, the £12bn project was shelved in January 2019 after the Japanese tech giant failed to reach a funding deal with the UK government under Theresa May.

But with the local authority having consistently championed the economic benefits of such a development, which was cited to provide around 6% of the UK’s electricity and create 8,500 jobs during construction and another 850 over its 60-year operational lifespan, hopes remain it could be revived if a new funding arrangement is struck.

During a meeting of the Welsh Affairs Committee on Tuesday, the Secretary of State appeared to bolster such hopes by describing Wylfa Newydd as “being intended to have a happy ending,” while also conceding that project of its size was bound to be fraught with difficulty.

Responding to a question from island MP Virginia Crosbie, who asked what steps he was taking to champion the development and citing its environmental benefits in terms of de-carbonisation, Simon Hart acknowledged that they had discussed the issue on several occasions.

“There is real enthusiasm for this project and projects like it,” he said.

“It ticks all of the boxes, whether it be local growth and jobs or the wider UK energy production ambitions.

“We held a meeting recently with Horizon, and colleagues in BEIS (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), and this process is proceeding  with the intention of it having a happy ending.

“That’s as far as I can go for now but there are very few people that think its a fundamentally bad idea, but that doesn’t mean that getting to the finish line isn’t fraught with difficulty with a project of this magnitude.”

Described as a kick-starter to resuming the project, in September the UK Government is expected to make a decision on vital planning permission, known as a Development Consent Order, to construct the power station.

But having already been delayed for a year, opponents of the project claim that the pushing back of a decision demonstrates that ministers “have not been satisfied by answers provided,” reiterating their calls for the Wylfa Newydd plans to be “totally rejected.”

“The national policy statement for nuclear power adopted several years ago is completely outdated and rather than approving this obviously defective application, the Westminster government should start from scratch with a thorough review of their energy policy and to recognise that renewable technologies like wind, solar and marine have totally undermined any reason for investing billions of pounds in nuclear power,” says People Against Wylfa B (PAWB).

“A green revolution can create thousands of jobs in Wales and the other countries of Britain without the threat of nuclear disasters and poisonous radioactive waste and their effects on human and environmental health for
thousands of years.”

By Gareth Williams – Local Democracy Reporter

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