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Negotiations Start For Wylfa Newydd Nuclear Plant

by Jamie Adrankone

Negotiations Start For Wylfa Newydd Nuclear Plant

Plans to construct a nuclear power plant in North Wales have taken a significant step forwards at the start of June. Greg Clark, energy secretary, told MPs in the House of Commons that negotiations over the construction of the power plant have started with Japanese firm Hitachi.

In his statement on Monday 4 June, he also revealed that government money could be used to fund the Wylfa Newydd development, which would replace the original Wylfa plant on Anglesey that closed in 2015, the BBC reported.

If the project goes ahead, Hitachi subsidiary Horizon Nuclear Power would run the plant, which is expected to have an operational life of 60 years.

The new nuclear power plant at Wylfa Newydd will cost an estimated £12 billion to construct, and the project is expected to provide a boost to the North Wales economy.

At the height of the construction work, Horizon expects it will create around 9,000 jobs. Once the plant is completed and operational, the firm will require approximately 1,000 staff to run the plant.

If all goes well with the negotiations between Hitachi and the UK government, it’s hoped that the Wylfa Newydd site could be providing energy by the mid-2020s.

Alun Cairns, secretary of state for Wales, told the Daily Post that moving forward with the development of the plant isn’t only good news for those who work in the energy sector, but the region as a whole.

“By entering into negotiations, the UK government is also highlighting the attractiveness of Wales as a place to do business and invest,” he asserted.

Mr Cairns added that this would be the largest infrastructure project in Wales for a generation, noting that it is likely to “bring significant benefits to the economy through increased high-quality employment and supply chain opportunities”.

Although this is a significant step forwards for the project, it isn’t yet guaranteed to go ahead. Even if the negotiations between Hitachi and the government are successful, the project will need to receive regulatory and other approvals.

There are also likely to be some objections from environmental and local groups over the plans. But the BBC revealed that many in Anglesey are hoping the project will go ahead and as a result provide a boost to the economy.

Coleg Menai, for example, has been expanding its engineering programmes to help prepare young people for work in the sector - and many who are currently studying are hoping to get jobs on the Wylfa Newydd project.

Executive director for business development at the college’s parent company Grwp Llandrillo Menai Dr Ian Rees told the news provider that they’ve been talking to Horizon Nuclear Power about their future requirements for a number of years.

“We are talking on two fronts. There’s the construction phase… But also we’ve been talking about the engineering phase - for technicians, for apprentices,” Dr Rees stated.

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