Wylfa Newydd: UK guarantees Anglesey nuclear site money

Hitachi is now leading the long-awaited project

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A new nuclear power plant on Anglesey by Japanese firm Hitachi is among the projects listed in a 20-year infrastructure spending plan published by the UK government.

It guarantees to support finance for developing a new station at Wylfa.

Building the £8bn Wylfa Newydd (New Wylfa) is subject to planning approval, a process expected to take three years.

Hitachi's reactors also need to be approved by the Health and Safety Executive.

The firm renamed the project Wylfa Newydd last month in recognition of the "opportunities" it says it will bring. It had been known as Wylfa B.

Up to 6,000 jobs are expected to be created while the new reactors - capable of powering up to three million homes - are built and around 1,000 jobs when the plant is operating.

Start Quote

The project will mean jobs for at least 60 years in terms of generating electricity on site for up to 1,000 local people”

End Quote John Idris Jones Energy Island Programme

Hitachi bought the site last year for around £700m. The power station will be built by a subsidiary, Horizon Nuclear Power.

'Confidence'

Horizon chief operating officer Alan Raymant welcomed the announcement as "excellent".

He said: "It will build confidence amongst our supply chain, future workforce, local communities, and importantly potential investors."

In a statement, the two firms said they expected to have the full range of licences and permissions for Wylfa Newydd in place by 2018.

John Idris Jones, programme director for the Energy Island Programme, a partnership of public and private sector bodies run from Anglesey council, said the finance announcement was a "step in the right direction" as part of the wider construction process.

He said it would make it cheaper for Hitachi to borrow money to build Wylfa Newydd.

OTHER SPENDING PLAN HIGHLIGHTS

  • A further £50m for a redevelopment of the railway station at Gatwick Airport
  • UK guarantee agreed for the £1bn London Underground's Northern Line extension to Battersea in London
  • Improvements to the A50 around Uttoxeter, in Staffordshire, to start no later than 2015-16
  • Improvements to the A14 around the port of Felixstowe in Suffolk
  • Target for the sale of corporate and financial assets will be doubled from £10bn to £20bn between 2014 and 2020, including the government's shareholding in Eurostar.

He said: "That in the long term will mean cheaper electricity prices for us because they will be able to borrow the money at a cheaper rate."

He added: "The vast majority of the people I talk to are very keen on the Wylfa Newydd project. They see this as an opportunity for the island to have a sustainable future.

"The project will mean jobs for at least 60 years in terms of generating electricity on site for up to 1,000 local people, and that is very important for our island."

Welsh Secretary David Jones said the announcement was a "strong signal" of the UK government's commitment to new nuclear power.

He said: "Their investment will bring significant benefits to the economy in Wales, particularly on Anglesey, through supply chain opportunities and much needed high-quality employment."

Kevin Coyne, the Unite union's national officer for energy, said: "This new nuclear project could mean the creation of thousands of construction jobs, hundreds of apprenticeships as well as the jobs operating a new power station."

Lagoon

Another large energy scheme being planned in Wales is a £750m tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay.

If built, according to a report commissioned by the company, 40% of the investment could be spent in Wales.

The two projects are among £375bn of investment in energy, transport, communications, and water projects proposed under the National Infrastructure Plan (NIP).

Albert Owen, Ynys Mon MP welcomed the announcement.

But he said he had also raised the issue with the coalition government of the importance of port development with regard to the project and the wider economy.

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