Island Nuclear Plant First of New Generation
by David Phillips
Anglesey may site the first of a new generation of nuclear power stations in Britain after Horizon Nuclear Power, the joint venture between E.ON and RWE, announced that it has applied for planning consent for a 3 GW capacity reactor on the North Wales island.
The UK Government is very keen to lead Britain towards a low carbon economy and a new fleet of modern nuclear reactors will play a major role in that ambition.
At the moment the Department of Energy and Climate Change (or DECC) is looking at Horizon's plans for the new power station, a process expected to last about 15 weeks or so.
This news is very welcome on Anglesey, after the island has suffered a number of job losses with the closure of the nearby aluminium smelter at Holyhead.
There is an existing nuclear power station at Wylfa but this aging plant will close at the end of 2010, leading to a further drop in low carbon baseload electricity generation in the UK.
It is for this reason that the UK Government is keen to promote expansion of new nuclear, securing energy supply as well as addressing the climate change challenge.
Local MP Albert Owen who has been a leading advocate and campaigner for the new power plant welcomed the announcement by Horizon.
If all goes to plan, the new reactor will be ready to be in commission by 2020, and over the next ten years around 5,000 construction jobs will be created, followed by between 800 to 1,000 high skilled permanent
It's good news for the local economy too, with the local authority estimating that up to £8 billion ($12 billion) will flow onto the island, now called the "Energy Island".
Meanwhile, the Welsh Assembly Government has supported a call for a public inquiry into the handling of the future waste streams arising from the new nuclear plant at Wylfa.
The bottom line, however, is that this project will mean jobs on Anglesey for the next 90+ years, or three generations. That is 10 years to construction, 60 years operation and 20 years decommissioning.
Interesting times ahead for new nuclear on Anglesey.
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