A WELSH Government-owned firm could publish a business plan for a new nuclear power station at Trawsfynydd within 12 months.

On Friday prime minister Boris Johnson announced plans for a new nuclear power plant at the site during his speech to the Welsh Conservative conference in Newtown.

The original Trawsfynydd nuclear power station closed in 1991 though clean up and decontamination work is still ongoing and it has been consider a likely candidate for a new reactor with the UK Government still believing nuclear has a future.

It has ramped up its nuclear programme in recent months with energy security highlighted by the war in Ukraine.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson answered nuclear power stations when he was asked about food bank use in Wales

UK business and energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has hailed the government's plans as a "British nuclear renaissance".

Trawsfynydd became operational in 1965, and was the only nuclear power station in the UK to be built inland, with cooling water that was taken from the man-made Llyn Trawsfynydd reservoir which also supplied the hydro-electric Maentwrog power station

The Prime Minister's announcement comes a month after he said that a new full-size nuclear power station would be built at Wylfa on Ynys Mon, meaning the two long standing nuclear plants that had been operational in the north during would be reinstated.

However neither plan has had any formal approval as yet.

The Welsh Labour government is supportive of nuclear power generation and established Cwmni Egino to develop new projects including the deployment of small nuclear reactors to generate electricity and wider options to maximise the opportunity for the Trawsfynydd site.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and Cwmni Egino will work together on proposals for the siting of the new nuclear development at Trawsfynydd.

With the agreement of the UK Government BEIS department, the two organisations are working towards a collaboration agreement aimed at progressing plans to support the UK Government’s Energy Security Strategy. 

Kwarteng said: “Our ambition for a British nuclear renaissance means a bright future for nuclear power in Wales, not only securing clean, affordable, homegrown energy but also jobs and investment at sites like Trawsfynydd.

“We remain on track to realise our plan to approve eight new nuclear reactors by 2030, transforming the UK’s energy network and revitalizing decommissioned nuclear sites.”

The NDA are charged with the mission to clean up the UK’s earliest nuclear sites safely, securely and cost-effectively, with the aim of benefiting local communities and the environment, to ultimately release its 17 sites for other uses.

Cwmni Egino is wholly owned by Welsh Government, established to drive future development at the Trawsfynydd site and to promote regional economic and social regeneration.

The UK Government has also sought to claim investment in nuclear energy will help manage costs for consumers.

However Dylan Morgan of anti-nuclear group Pobl Atal Wylfa B/People Against Wylfa B (PAWB) says as well as opposition on environmental grounds opponents point out the development of the sites will require huge government investment.

He also said the decsriptions of new plants as using modual or smaller reactors is also misleading.

"No nuclear companies will go it alone and invest heavily in building new nuclear reactors. As in the case of Rolls Royce and their modular reactor which isn't small at all at 475 MW, bigger than the old Magnox reactors at Trawsfynydd, they want government public handouts for designing the reactors.

"More astronomic handouts financed through our already vastly inflated electricity bills to construct these radiotoxic monstrosities, and then even  more handouts for an agreed price for electricity produced, and last but not at all least, the massive decommissioning costs over thousands of years of reactors and all the problems with storage of hazardous nuclear wastes.

"There is little wonder that no corporations have come forward in droves to get a nuclear renaissance much promised from the Blair/Brown era going," said Morgan.

READ MORE: Is Wales moving closer to a new nuclear power project?

The NDA site at Trawsfynydd is home to a Magnox station which is being decommissioned by Magnox Ltd, a subsidiary of the NDA.  The NDA also owns land outside the Magnox site boundary which could be used for a new nuclear development. 

As part of this new arrangement, the NDA will share information about the characteristics of the available land at the Trawsfynydd site, its decommissioning plans (to support schedule and work-force planning) and support Cwmni Egino in the development of its socio-economic plans.

It will also offer an opportunity for Cwmni Egino to engage with potential developers and technology providers who wish to participate in the development of the Trawsfynydd site.   

Any formal commitment of NDA land, or other support, would require Government approval via NDA’s sponsoring department BEIS.

Cwmni Egino is progressing its plans for a development at Trawsfynydd and hope to be in a position to confirm its outline business proposition within the year.    

They are also engaged with the newly created government body Great British Nuclear, led by Simon Bowen, which will bring forward new projects.

READ MORE: UK energy strategy blasted as Wylfa nuclear project gets go-ahead

David Peattie, NDA CEO, said:  “As well as delivering our mission, we’re committed to helping the Government in supporting its energy goals and our partnership with Cwmni Egino, around the potential future use of land at Trawsfynydd, is testament to our continued support of Government policy and our socio-economic obligations.”

Gwen Parry-Jones, Magnox Ltd CEO, added: “The formal collaboration between NDA and Cwmni Egino is fantastic news for Trawsfynydd and affirms our mission to safely clean-up the site for other uses. It also presents a significant opportunity to benefit the community around the site building on and utilising the world-leading skills and expertise of our nuclear workforce.”

Alan Raymant, CEO of Cwmni Egino said: “Our relationship with NDA and Magnox is critical to the successful delivery of our vision for the development of new nuclear at Trawsfynydd.  This collaboration agreement provides the foundation for a fruitful partnership that will bring benefits to the local community and help deliver the Energy Security Strategy”.

Additional reporting: Twm Owen

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