Wylfa Nuclear Development Essential to Wales’ Energy Security
23 September 2021
MPs examining possibilities for nuclear projects on site
Nuclear development at Wylfa on Anglesey would guarantee a secure, reliable supply of clean electricity for Wales’ net zero future. Wales is currently highly dependent on volatile gas generation for electricity, which has recently hit prices of up to £5,000/MWh, more than 50 times the normal level.
Today, the Welsh Affairs Committee will consider the future of Wylfa Newydd, which is widely regarded as one of the best sites in Europe for nuclear development.
The Wylfa site is large enough to accommodate at least two large-scale reactors, such as the Westinghouse AP1000, and multiple Small Modular Reactors of the size being developed by Rolls-Royce. Together, these would give Wales more than 3 GW of nuclear capacity, more than the total power demand for the whole nation.
Following the closure of the Wylfa A Nuclear Power Station in 2015, Wales has struggled to decarbonise its electricity supply. In 2020, South Wales had the dirtiest power of any region in the UK, with an average carbon intensity of 305g CO2/kWh, well above the UK’s 2030 electricity decarbonisation target of 50-100g. North Wales has more renewable energy capacity, but lacks a backbone of always-on, clean power to stabilise the grid.
Nuclear is the only clean energy technology in the UK that does not depend on the weather, so it’s the only one that can guarantee energy security for net zero.
Ahead of the committee session, Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, said:
“Wales needs nuclear development on Wylfa to deliver a secure net zero future. Nuclear on the site would produce reliable clean power to shake our dependence on ruinously expensive imported gas, and create thousands of high-quality skilled jobs for young people across Wales. To get nuclear projects going, the UK Government should legislate for a new financing model and give its clear backing to large and small developments.”
- Daily balancing costs are available from LCP Energy at https://twitter.com/lcpenergy? lang=en and further information on spot prices at https://thecurrent.lcp.uk.com/
- Day-ahead auction prices are also available from Nordpool: https://www.nordpoolgroup.com/ Market-data1/GB/Auction- prices/UK/monthly/?view=table
- The UK has seven generating nuclear power stations, of which Hunterston B, Hinkley Point B, Heysham I and Hartlepool nuclear power stations are all scheduled to retire by the end of March 2024, representing more than 4 GW of nominal generating capacity. Hunterston and Hinkley Point B will be in defuelling by mid-2022.
- Of the existing fleet, only the Pressurised Water Reactor at Sizewell B, with 1.2 GW of capacity, is scheduled to be operational after 2030.
- Nuclear is the second most important source of clean power in the UK currently, after wind.
About the Nuclear Industry Association
As the trade association for the civil nuclear industry in the UK, the Nuclear Industry Association represents more than 250 companies across the UK’s nuclear supply chain.
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