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Wylfa Newydd – our role

Background

On 17 January 2019, Horizon Nuclear Power announced that it was suspending its UK nuclear development programme, following a decision taken by its parent company Hitachi, Ltd.

Horizon is planning to develop a new nuclear power station on Anglesey.

The site is on land beside the former Magnox Wylfa Power Station, which is now being decommissioned.

Horizon were aiming to start generating electricity at Wylfa Newydd in the mid 2020s – with a minimum generating capacity of 3100 MW ‐ enough to power around five million homes.

NRW had three roles in relation to Wylfa Newydd:

  • assessing the design of the reactors
  • Environmental Permitting and Marine Licensing
  • providing expert advice to other organisations on decisions they need to make

Whilst Horizon has withdrawn several permit applications we continue to determine the Construction Water Discharge Permit and the Marine Licence.

Until notified otherwise, we continue to play our role as statutory adviser in the planning process.

 

Assessing the design of the reactors – Generic Design Assessment (GDA)

The design of the reactor proposed by Horizon – the Advanced Boiling Water Reactor, or ABWR – has received Generic Design Assessment (GDA) approval in December 2017.

A detailed four-year-long programme, this partnership between NRW, the Environment Agency and the Office of Nuclear Regulation investigates and assesses the safety, security, environmental protection and waste management aspects of reactor designs.

Permitting

Before the developer can build and operate a nuclear power station at Wylfa Newydd, it needs several permits from us.We will carry out a thorough assessment of Horizon’s proposals to see if they contain sufficient safeguards to protect people and the environment before deciding whether to issue the permits or refuse the application.

We have already granted some permits to protect the environment for work that’s already been done, for example to allow limited tree felling, to use herbicide in a controlled manner, install monitoring equipment in watercourses and to conduct ground investigations at sea.

Horizon had provided us with several permit applications prior to the project suspension. They are:

Radioactive Substances

This permit application was received by NRW in October 2017

To demonstrate how Horizon will protect people and the environment by minimising the amount of radioactive waste it generates and discharges.

This permit application has been officially withdrawn by the developer on 14 February 2019.

Construction Water Discharge

This permit application was received by NRW in June 2018

To control and minimise the impact from site drainage and contaminated water during the main construction period. For example, this could include discharges of rainfall runoff and discharges from a sewerage system.

Marine licencing

This licence application was received by NRW in June 2018.

This is required for any work that involves building, removing and disposing of materials below the high‐water mark. This includes features such as breakwaters, a facility to off‐load cargo from ships (MOLF – marine off‐loading facility) or marine dredging.

Cooling water discharge

This permit application was received by NRW in June 2018. 

To minimise the environmental effect of abstracting sea water to cool the plant’s systems and of discharging it (warmer and with some chemicals) back into the sea.

This permit application has been officially withdrawn by the developer on 14 February 2019.

Combustion installation

This permit application was received by NRW in June 2018.

To make sure that emergency back‐up generators and boilers have measures to protect the local environment.

This permit application has been officially withdrawn by the developer on 14 February 2019.

Abstraction of Groundwater

Horizon will not be submitting an application for this activity within the current suspended state.

Planning Advice

Our role also involves providing expert advice to other organisations on decisions they need to make.

Planning permission for the new power station will be decided by the Secretary of State, which will also include the main associated developments linked to the project. Anglesey County Council is the decision maker for the improvements to the A5025 from Wylfa to Valley and the early site preparation and clearance activities.

We will provide specialist advice to these organisations on how to protect and improve the environment on several aspects.

Contact Us - for more information
energyisland@cyfoethnaturiolcymru.gov.uk

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