New nuclear on the cards for Wylfa

30 December 2008

Grid connections have been arranged for a potential new nuclear plant at Wylfa, on the Welsh island of Anglesey. Some 3600 MWe of nuclear capacity could be added there.


map - Great Britain new build
The likely new-build sites in Great Britain
European utility group RWE announced today that it had secured the connection agreements from National Grid, adding that it also had options to buy farmland at Wylfa, close to the existing nuclear power plant there. It is not clear how this may relate to land owned in the area by Electricité de France.


Two Magnox gas-cooled reactors have been operating at Wylfa since the early 1970s, generating 980 MWe - about 40% of Wales's energy supply. These are currently set to close in 2010, although this could be extended to 2012. One of the major employers on the north Welsh island is the Anglesey Aluminium smelting operation, which now takes off 250 MWe from the plant and is considering its plans for future energy supply.


RWE did not give any timings for the availability of the grid connection, or any indication of which design of reactor it may have in mind. The company has supported Areva's EPR, GE-Hitachi's ESBWR and Westinghouse's AP1000, which produce 1600 MWe, 1550 MWe and 1120 MWe respectively.


Local leaders celebrated the news: Phil Fowlie, leader of the local council said: "Ensuring energy generation remains at Wylfa for future generations is a major priority for the County Council." The council's aim is for Anglesey to become an 'energy island'.


Grid connection agreements are now in place for several new nuclear plants in Great Britain, including the two reactors at Hinkley Point C and two at Sizewell C planned by British Energy under Electricité de France. Those companies also have connection agreements at the Dungeness, Wylfa and Bradwell sites, but these are to be set aside should plans at Sizewell and Hinkley Point go ahead. In addition, EOn has a 1600 MWe connection at Oldbury. In total these connection agreements amount to 18,400 MWe.

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