Wylfa: Anglesey nuclear power plant planning decision deferred

Wylfa Nuclear Power Station at Cemaes Bay, Anglesey, North Wales. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Campaigners against the nuclear plant said the industry’s economics were “hopeless”

A decision on whether to give a stalled £13bn nuclear power project planning permission has been deferred.

Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom wants more information on environmental and other impacts for Wylfa Newydd on Anglesey.

She had been widely expected to back the proposals, granting what is known as a development consent order (DCO).

Hitachi shelved the scheme, the biggest energy project ever proposed in Wales, over funding issues.

Developers Horizon Nuclear Power had earlier said the decision would “heavily influence” how the project progresses.

Ms Leadsom has now given a deadline by the end of the year – and invited comments from Natural Resources Wales, the Office for Nuclear Regulation, Anglesey council and other bodies.

Image copyright KenCanning/Getty Images
Image caption Nearby Cemlyn Bay nature reserve is home to the only colony of nesting sandwich tern in Wales – at least 1,000 birds

She wants more assurances on various aspects – from biodiversity, visual impact, flooding and construction noise – and any risk to the Sandwich tern, which has a colony nearby.

Planning inspectors spent six months examining the plans and considering their impact on local people and the environment, before making a recommendation to the UK government.

About 9,000 workers were expected to be involved in building the two nuclear reactors, which were due to be operational by the mid-2020s, supplying up to five million homes for 60 years.

But Japanese energy giant Hitachi put plans on hold after failing to reach a deal with the UK government over the price it would be paid for power from the site.

Image caption There has been a long campaign against a new nuclear station

Since then ministers have been consulting on new ways to fund big, expensive nuclear projects.

Opponents of nuclear power have called on Ms Leadsom to dismiss the planning application and focus on renewable sources of electricity.

Dylan Morgan of People Against Wylfa B said it was “obvious the developers are keen to get planning permission in order to try and sell the site”.

“But that’s easier said than done at the moment given the pretty perilous state of the global nuclear industry and the hopeless economics.”

Image copyright Magnox/BBC Wales
Image caption The first Wylfa nuclear power station operated for 45 years

Horizon Nuclear Power – a subsidiary of Hitachi – said ahead of the announcement that “a positive decision to grant our DCO would enable us to understand the conditions placed upon the project should the correct conditions for a restart be met”.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *