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BBC (UK): ’Slim chance’ Wylfa Newydd nuclear plant will go ahead

Wednesday 6 April 2016

’Slim chance’ Wylfa Newydd nuclear plant will go ahead

By Steffan Messenger BBC Wales Environment Correspondent

BBC, 5 April 2016 Wales

Plans to build a new nuclear power plant on Anglesey have a "slim to zero" chance of going ahead, an industry expert has claimed.

Independent consultant Mycle Schneider is a lead author of the annual World Nuclear Status report.

He said the Hinkley Point C project’s difficulties would affect Wylfa Newydd’s ability to attract investors.

But Horizon Nuclear Power said it was very confident the new power station would be delivered successfully.

Speaking to BBC Radio Cymru’s Post Cyntaf programme, Mr Schneider, who has advised both the French and German governments on nuclear policy, said: "The Hinkley Point project is in great difficulties and you could argue that the uncertainties are even larger in the case of Wylfa Newydd."

The Anglesey plant, he said, would need "very clear and very large subsidies to get off the ground".

Horizon is in talks with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) on issues such as the strike price, which will be key to attracting additional finance.

Richard Foxhall of Horizon Nuclear Power told BBC Wales other investors would need to be brought on board to deliver Wylfa Newydd and that talks were ongoing.

"What is important is that the right conditions for investment are made and part of that is discussions with the government," he said.

"But we’re very, very confident that we can reach a successful conclusion to those negotiations and make sure the conditions are there to attract investment."

The chairman of Horizon’s parent company Hitachi has warned it may walk away from the project if a viable deal cannot be reached.

The UK government wants low-cost nuclear power.

Ieuan Williams, leader of Anglesey council said it was "very important the project goes ahead" to help secure the UK’s future electricity supply as well as jobs in the area.

"Nuclear projects are very complex, costly and take a long time to build. But I do believe that energy policy in the UK favours nuclear," he added.

"So I think it is very unlikely that we will not see Wylfa Newydd being built."

Wylfa Newydd timetable

2017 Horizon to submit planning application

2018 Site to be prepared for construction

2020 First concrete to be laid

2025 Plant to start generating electricity

Horizon Nuclear Power

There have been questions about the viability of the £24bn Hinkley Point C nuclear project in Somerset.

Horizon said it was in "no way dependent" on the success or otherwise of Hinkley.

It pointed to the fact the reactors planned for Wylfa Newydd are a different design to those which have caused long delays and spiralling costs for its rival EDF.

Although the advanced boiling water reactors are yet to be licensed in the UK, Horizon said they have been tried and tested in Japan and delivered on budget and on time.

But others argue Hinkley’s fate is bound to have an impact on the other nuclear plants the UK has in the pipeline.


See also:

• BBC, "Wylfa Newydd: Dim ond ’siawns bychan’ o ddigwydd", 5 April 2016

• BBC, Radio Cymru, "Post Cyntaf", 5 April 2016

• Wales Online, "Wylfa Newydd nuclear plant would need ’very large subsidies to get off the ground’", 5 April 2016

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