Ministers backing plans for another new nuclear power plant

Ministers backing plans for another new nuclear power plant
Ministers are reportedly backing the plans amidst concerns the country won’t meet its targets.

The government is reportedly backing plans for another large-scale nuclear power plant in the UK to help the country achieve its net zero targets.

It is in discussions with American nuclear reactor manufacturer Westinghouse amongst other groups, to develop the new plant in Anglesey, Wales, reports The Times.

If the plans were to go ahead, the new plant would be able to generate enough electricity to power more than six million homes from the mid-2030s.

It would come in addition to a nuclear plant under construction at Hinkley Point, Somerset, and a proposal for a new reactor at Sizewell, Suffolk, which is in advanced planning stages.

Ministers are reportedly concerned existing nuclear projects do not support the country’s ambition of reducing its carbon rates, with Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng having reservations that by the early-2030s there will not be enough nuclear power to phase out gas power.

He is understood to back plans to build a new plant in Anglesey, and is lobbying the Treasury to seek private investment.

The government is also in “exploratory” talks with other consortiums about the development of new nuclear sites presenting a number of potential proposals for using the Anglesey site, according to the director of Nuclear Projects and Development at the government’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy department.

Giving evidence to the Welsh Affairs Committee, Declan Burke said his department had been in discussions with US engineering firm Bechtel, which proposes building a Westinghouse AP1000 reactor.

Conversations have also been had with Shearwater Energy to create small nuclear reactors and a wind farm.

There was a £20bn plan to develop a new plant at the site in January, however Horizon Nuclear Power withdrew its plans citing the funding options.

Its plans had reached “the point beyond which ministers were not willing to go, despite us all very much wanting that project to work”, Mr Burke explained.

Hitachi also pulled out of a £20bn project last September after it failed to reach a funding agreement with the government.

It said it made the decision given 20 months had passed since the project had paused “and the investment environment has become increasingly severe due to the impact of Covid-19”.

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