North West Wales

Wylfa nuclear station to generate for two more years

The existing Wylfa plant on Anglesey
Image caption Permission to move fuel will allow the plant to continue production until 2014

The Wylfa nuclear power station on Anglesey will be able to produce electricity for another two years after it was given permission to move fuel.

The station already had a licence to generate power, but the fuel was in Reactor 2 instead of Reactor 1.

It means the it can continue generating electricity until the fuel runs out or September 2014, whichever comes first.

The station is due to close after that date and plans for Wylfa B are on hold.

Fuel has to be moved within the site as it is no longer manufactured.

Last month it was announced the Areva group and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation (CGNPC) group were to bid for the Horizon project, which includes Wylfa B.

The fuel move has the backing of the Office for Nuclear Regulation and is supported by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

Wylfa is the only Magnox site still generating electricity, following the closure of Oldbury in Gloucestershire in February.

The extra income from Wylfa and Oldbury - which closed in February after generating electricity for four years longer than originally scheduled - is so far estimated to be worth around £600m.

"Wylfa's continued generation is excellent news and will deliver significant additional revenue to support our clean-up mission," said Brian Burnett, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority's head of programme for Magnox.

'Safeguarding jobs'

The Anglesey site director, Stuart Law, said the extension was a credit to the staff who had supported the plant through its 41 years of electricity generation.

A spokesperson said the Welsh government welcomed the news, adding: "The development of Wylfa B would offer significant long-term economic benefits to Anglesey and North Wales and has the potential to contribute £2.34bn to the economy over the period to 2025, creating an estimated 5,000 construction jobs and around 800 direct jobs when in operation."

UK government Energy Minister Charles Hendry said: "Wylfa has been generating electricity for homes across the county for over four decades now.

"This move, based on comprehensive safety assessments, is good for our energy security.

"It will enable Wylfa to continue generating for two more years, safeguarding jobs and bringing in additional commercial income, which will help contribute to the costs of our nuclear decommissioning programme management of the nuclear legacy."

In June the UK government reaffirmed its commitment to a new nuclear reactor on Anglesey during a ministerial visit to Wylfa.

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