Welsh secretary travels to US to push Wylfa nuclear power plant deal forward

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The Welsh Secretary of State visits Vogtle Power Station in Georgia, USA to pursue ambitions to build a new nuclear power station in Anglesey.

Simon Hart will meet representatives of the two companies working on the Burke County nuclear power station, Bechtel and Westinghouse, to discuss proposals for a new nuclear power station at the Wylfa Newydd site in Wales. The two companies were in talks with the UK government over the project last year, and the meeting is an attempt to push the process forward.

Last week it was revealed that the new Sizewell C nuclear power station in Suffolk will benefit from the government taking a 20% stake in the £20billion project. Wylfa’s future is less certain, but with gas and oil supplies suffering from the Russian conflict in Ukraine, Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently said he wanted a quarter of the UK’s power to be generated from nuclear. Another power station would be a necessity to achieve this, and Wylfa appears to be the government’s preferred site.

An official statement on the government’s plans for domestic energy generation is expected in the energy security strategy to be released today.

Rolls-Royce recently submitted plans for the development of its small modular reactors at the Wylfa site, but the latest developments suggest the government is more nuclear-friendly there.

Hart told BBC Wales: “What Bechtel and Westinghouse want to hear from us, and they will hear from me […] is that we are very serious about large scale nuclear in the UK and in particular at this fantastic site.

“If this week’s visit brings us a little closer to that position, then it will be a very useful exercise.”

Bechtel and Westinghouse’s work on the Vogtle plant has been subject to continued delays, with the most recent announced in recent months. Hart says one of the reasons for the meeting is to discuss these delays and figure out if any lessons have been learned that could prevent such problems at Wylfa.

The government has already earmarked £120million for the project, and its full plan is expected in the energy security statement.

In addition, the UK is considering a 20-year extension of the Sizewell B nuclear power station on the east coast of England until 2055, according to the FinancialTimes. Suffolk Power Station is expected to stop producing electricity in 2035.

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