Wylfa nuclear plan kept alive
Isle of Anglesey County Council has unanimously approved an extension to planning permission for road improvements to enable the development of a new power station.
The decision, made at a Wednesday planning and orders meeting, gives Hitachi subsidiary Horizon Nuclear Power until July 2026 to start upgrading 16 kilometres of the A5025 between A5 East of Valley Junction and the proposed Power Station Access Road Junction north of Cefn Coch. The original planning permission, which was granted in 2020, expired in July this year.
The road upgrades had been part of Horizon’s transport strategy for the £20bn Wylfa Newydd nuclear power plant, plans for which were first discussed in 2017.
Those original plans for the facility were abandoned in 2019 due to funding disagreements between Horizon and the government.
In the latest road improvement extension application, however, the company noted that it was committed to a new nuclear power station being built on the site.
“Despite the project not progressing in its current form, Horizon nevertheless remains committed to promoting the site for the development of new nuclear at Wylfa in anticipation of future proposals coming forward at the site and given that the site remains allocated for new nuclear development under National Policy Statement EN-6 which relates to nuclear power generation,” the statement read.
“As part of Horizon’s commitment to leaving a positive legacy to the site, it considered that preserving the planning permission for the A5025 On-line Highway Improvements is an integral part of the site’s future given that any future development at the site will need to address the limitations of the existing road leading up to the site.”
Wylfa has been a power hotspot before, with the Magnox nuclear station operating from 1971 until the start of its decommissioning in 2015.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has described Wylfa as a “fantastic site” for a new giga-watt power station, of the same vein as Sizewell C in Suffolk, or a series of small modular reactors.
A report from the House of Commons’ Welsh Affairs Committee echoed those words. Committee chair, Stephen Crabb MP, also spoke on the benefits of such a project. he said: “A gigawatt-scale nuclear energy project at Wylfa would be a game-changer for the North Wales economy
“The enormous investment would illustrate levelling up in action, creating well-paid, high-skilled jobs, and we would be a step closer to energy independence.”