CONSTRUCTION work on a potential new nuclear power station at Trawsfynydd could start in 2027, a Welsh Government backed firm has said.

Cwmni Egino says it wants the former nuclear site to become home to one of the first small scale nuclear generation, or small modular reactors (SMR), in the UK. 

Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville-Roberts has also supported the scheme for the disused Trawsfynydd nuclear plant despite the party’s opposition to nuclear power generation. 

The small scale reactors are seen as a way of bringing new nuclear power sites on stream quicker than building traditional large plants but doubts remain over the technology leading to opponents to question the viability of work starting within five years.

But the firm says with the design of SMR technology still under development in the UK, it is yet to make a decision as to which technology is best suited for Trawsfynydd, leaving the door open to more traditional nuclear generation or alternative energy plans. 

In May prime minister Boris Johnson, addressing the Welsh Conservative conference in Welshpool, announced plans for a new nuclear power plant at Trawsfynydd. 

Cwmni Egino was set up, by the Welsh Government, last year to develop plans for use of the former nuclear power station, in Gwynedd, which closed in 1993. 

READ MORE: UK Government to work with Welsh Government firm on Trawsfynydd reactor

Today’s announcement signals a stepping up of plans for the site bolstered by the UK Government’s Energy Security Strategy published in April which stated a commitment to accelerating its nuclear programme, including the deployment of SMRs.  

The power station employed 700 people at its peak while decommissioning work has been ongoing since 1995, underlining the long term impact of nuclear power generation and the waste it produces. 

Cwmni Egino chief executive, Alan Raymant, said: “Trawsfynydd offers an unparalleled opportunity for the fastest deployment of SMR technology in the UK given the site’s characteristics and heritage, and the existing skills and infrastructure available.” 

The firm is also stressing what it believes are the potential economic benefits to rural Gwynedd and the wider area. 

“By connecting the energy security challenge with the socio-economic challenge, we believe that future development at Traws can create many win-wins. 

“As well as delivering benefits locally, there’s huge scope to promote supply chain, skills development and business opportunities in the wider north Wales region and across the UK. This type of development at Trawsfynydd. 

Any project will be developed by the Welsh Government through Cwmni Egino, the landowner the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and the UK Government's Great British Nuclear  body recently established to bring forward new projects. 

Welsh economy minister Vaughan Gething said: “There is a great deal of potential in the Trawsfynydd site. We established Cwmni Egino so this potential can be realised.  The team is now in place and the work is well under way. 

“The future development of the Trawsfynydd site will benefit the local community and wider north Wales region, bringing jobs and skills opportunities.” 

A quote from Plaid’s Liz Saville Roberts, has also been shared by Cwmni Egino, welcoming the potential development. 

The Dwyfor Meirionnydd MP is maintaining Plaid’s compromise position that though it is opposed to nuclear power it supports maintaining existing sites, or in the case of Trawsfynydd restoring its use. 

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Both Trawsfynydd and Ynys Mon, where there are plans to develop the former Wylfa power station site as a new nuclear plant, have regularly returned Plaid Cymru representatives. 

Saville Roberts said: “I believe that Wales should play a leading, ambitious role in the development of low carbon energy technologies in an interconnected world where energy affordability and security will become increasingly more important. 

“I look forward also to the quality jobs and sustainable social and economic opportunities for Meirionnydd and Gwynedd which will be associated with these plans. My constituency is among the lowest waged in the United Kingdom, and the development of our future economy cries out for a range of job options for young people, as well as appropriate skills and training opportunities.” 

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Dylan Morgan of anti-nuclear group Pobl Atal Wylfa B/People Against Wylfa B (PAWB) has previously highlighted its opposition to nuclear power is on economic aas well as environmental grounds. 

It has also previously highlighted that it considers the promotion of new developments such as Trawsfynydd as using modual or smaller reactors as misleading. 

Morgan said: "This statement by Alan Raymant on behalf of Cwmni Egino is really clutching at straws. They are yet to make a decision 'as to which technology is best  suited for Trawsfynydd'. Yet he thinks they will be able to start construction by 2027.

"A very tall order and not good news for the much touted 475MW Rolls Royce reactor which is not at all small. This also follows a damning report on three different small modular reactor designs  published recently in the USA by Lindsay Krall and a team of researchers at Stanford University, California."

He said the Welsh Government should pull its support for the plan: "This industry needs to be put out of its misery and we demand that the Welsh Government winds Cwmni Egino up immediately and channels investment towards developing the variety of renewable energy sources here in Wales. Investing our money as Welsh taxpayers in the nuclear dead horse is scandalous and inexcusable."

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